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Trudeau announces additional funding for Indigenous businesses; addresses systemic racism

The Prime Minister started his daily address on Thursday by blaming the Conservatives for standing against the bill for the one-time $600 support for Canadians living with Disabilities.

Justin Trudeau said all parties agreed on the legislation, except for the Conservative party, who he said, “didn’t even allow the house to debate it.”

Trudeau then revealed another $133-million to support Indigenous businesses in protecting jobs and helping communities weather COVID-19. He said $117-million will help small and community-owned Indigenous businesses while $16-million is for the tourism industry.

Trudeau also said the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities will be making public the amounts of funding announced last week as part of the accelerated municipal funding. Those funds will be available for communities. According to Trudeau, the federal government has already delivered the money to provinces and territories.

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The Prime Minister was then asked about comments made on a CBC news interview by the RCMP Commissioner on Wednesday. Brenda Lucki said the definition of systemic racism was not clear to her.

“Systemic racism is an issue right across the country in all its institutions,” said Trudeau, noting that extends to all police forces including in the RCMP. “That’s what systemic racism is, in many cases, it’s not deliberate, intentional, or aggressive individual acts of racism; although those obviously exist.”

He said it is recognizing that the systems built over the past generations have not always treated people of racialized backgrounds and of Indigenous backgrounds fairly.

“It does require us to look at the very building blocks of our institutions and of our country and saying okay this outcome isn’t quite fair, we’re not quite bringing in or creating enough success for everyone, and the people of privilege are having an easier time than those who discrimination.”

Trudeau said it’s a difficult and even uncomfortable conversation.

The Prime Minister had a clear message to those who might say, “well it’s painting all our institutions with a negative brush and it’s not being proud of the Canada that we built and that our ancestors have built.”

“Nonsense,” exclaimed Trudeau. “This country remains a work in progress that we can and we must do better on.”

The Prime Minister said the challenge with systemic racism and systemic discrimination is that it’s very hard for people in those institutions, who believe in what they do, to recognize the extent of the system’s bias.

 

*** With Files from Mo Fahim **

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