Canada Throne speech promises on tackling systemic racism earn mixed reactions
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OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government's throne speech promises on systemic racism are being met with mixed reactions, with some applauding the commitments and others calling for less talk and more action.
While much of Wednesday's throne speech focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and plans to overhaul Canada's economy, it also included several promises to address systemic racism.
Those included more action on police reform and the criminal justice system as well as redoubling the fight against online hate, diversifying the public service and supporting Black Canadian culture.
Throne speech pledges extended wage subsidy, help for women and taxes
There are also plans for a new federal disability benefit modeled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement for low-income seniors.The Liberal government unveiled plans to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through to next summer and a variety of initiatives to help workers and especially women rejoin the workforce, including steps toward a Canada-wide childcare system and funding for skills training.
The decision to include systemic racism in a throne speech for the first time is being seen by some, such as University of Ottawa professor Boulou Ebanda de B'Beri, as reason for applause and optimism that the government is serious about tackling the issue.
Others such as Fareed Khan of the advocacy group Canadians United Against Hate say the speech largely repeated past promises, and that it is past time for the Liberals to stop talking and do more..
University of Waterloo professor Kathy Hogarth says the throne speech’s later emphasis on protecting English and French without any mention of Indigenous languages raises questions about how serious the Liberals are about critically assessing how government structures contribute to racism.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020.
The Canadian Press
Alberta premier says federal throne speech stomps into provincial jurisdiction .
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney sees grounds for more constitutional challenges, should the federal Liberal government follow through with promises contained in Wednesday's throne speech. Kenney told reporters Thursday morning that federal government plans jeopardize global investments in Alberta's forestry and fertilizer sectors — moves the premier believes are an infringement on Alberta's right to develop its own natural resources. He called the speech a "full-frontal attack" on federalism. "There were more policies that would invade provincial jurisdiction than I could count," Kenney said.