Systematic Racism in Canada

J Rogersposted 2 weeks ago

I am sure like me, many of you are watching what is happening in the US and probably being very grateful that you live in Canada.

The US has a horrible problem with how black people are treated by police and the justice system. I wanted to talk about systematic racism in Canada with regards to the justice system.

When you see criminal records all day, you come to a very simple conclusion. Black people are sentenced more harshly than white people. I don't think many people are surprised by that, and I bet if I showed a judge or prosecutor, they would argue that "the details are different" for each case.

They are, but its clear that sentences are harsher, regardless of why.

Being in Brampton, I deal with the Peel Police records division. I have often argued with them, because they have always refused to mail local police checks.
Years ago I fought with the records division about this, mainly because I knew the head of the records division had said some comments that were blatantly racist, and had even taken actions to prevent people from getting pardons. For example, when I explained that I had clients of social services getting pardons, and that many of my clients were single moms who didn't drive she was outraged that they were getting financial assistance to get pardons.

She then wrote a threatening email to Peel social services, and they STOPPED paying for Pardons. Imagine this, a POLICE OFFICER wrote a social services organization to prevent people from getting pardons.

During Covid, we finally had the excuse to get Peel Police to finally mail the local police check and they did. Today they informed me that they would not longer mail it out. The client must either notarize their ID, or they must make an appointment 9-3 during the week, to show the ID to an officer.

Don't forget, Peel Police will DO criminal record searches ONLINE. They claim they must take THIS step for privacy issues. I explained that "no one is sealing records behind someones back" and that with the form they need to fill out, we send ID, and a COPY OF THEIR CRIMINAL RECORD. Therefore the only reason they could be doing this, is to TARGET people applying for pardons. Make is as expensive (it is $92 and a regular check is $45) as possible and as inconvenient as possible.

I explained that this policy was absolutely racist. The police officer on the phone could either NOT see why, or like most white people, are willfully blind to it. I am escalating this up the chain, but the attitude Peel has shown in the past has been overwhelmingly poor. I should mention that Halton, Toronto, York and Durham (equally large police forces, have always been very professional and accommodating.

I think real change does not come when black people protest, I think it will come when white people take a stand, both in Canada and the United States and take ACTION for change.

Replies (recent first):

@Michelle

Women in that industry have a tough time fighting for "respect". Even in this industry. You do a very tough job, you wear many hats, and you still run a business responsibly and with a high degree of integrity.

This industry needs more Michelle's for sure.

J Rogers replied 2 weeks ago   #4

John, I totally understand what you are talking about "team"..I was a woman "civilian" not a member, in a position of power in a head office at Police..I had a higher level of security then most, and boy, did I deal with some jealously on that. Many times members challenged me in front of my staff and customers..Even as far as taking the vehicle that I had booked, so that I would have to cancel or be late for a course that I was teaching..and many times when I was teaching training course internal, there was zero respect in the class, in fact, there was down right resentment.

I remember when my boss who was 7 months pregnant and I were teaching a class and we were carrying in heavy class material to a room full of members (all males), and not one of them, offered to help us, not even offering to hold the door open, I was always amazed at the level of disrespect..I actually have more respect from my clients now....I felt sorry for the female members, they have so much to deal with also. Not all members were like this, but the few that were made it very uncomfortable.

Michelle replied 2 weeks ago   #3

@Michelle

I played rugby with a number of police officers, and I train with a few in MMA/BJJ. One very close friend is on the Toronto ETF. The common bond many police officers share is that "team" mentality. When you get that "jock culture" and make it mainly "white males" and then they train you to "protect your team first", you go from a "protect and serve" mentality to a "us against them" mentality. This creates the first "systematic exclusion". Its a ridiculously macho culture.

Then you add a mainly white prosecutorial system, who are literally working WITH police, and all you are left with are judges. What are judges? Former lawyers/prosecutors. Mainly white males, who have been working in the SYSTEM for years.

I am saddened to see how many white people on Facebook like to pretend none of this exists. When a black man is killed in the US, what is the first thing FOX NEWS does? Looks for dirt on the victim to JUSTIFY the fact he is dead. Go on any Facebook page (here in Ontario we like 680 and 640 talk radio) and you will see a SEA of white posters saying "don't listen to police, that is what happens". These are CANADIANS. The white privilege is appalling. And disheartening.

I don't know how black people cope. They must live in a constant state of frustration. I can't handle it, and I am white.

J Rogers replied 2 weeks ago   #2

Interesting article John in several different areas. 1. The difference between Police departments. I deal with this quite a bit, but not so much in a "color" racist, but definitely because a person has a criminal record. Some history about Saskatchewan, while I was growing up in the 70 and 80..we did not have many "different nationalities here". People simply did not Immigrate to Saskatchewan. So for the most part it was either White or Indigenous. It did not help that a little known fact "Moose Jaw" had a huge KKK group, and basically drove anyone out...people will argue this, however, it unfortunately existed. Our Indigenous people have been subject to all the Racism here, and although it is slowly changing, it is dreadful..Moving forward the past 10 years, Immigrants have come to Saskatchewan and I do see people here struggling with that. Now, this leads into the Google name search I had posted about. I believe that my client will have problems at the border even though his charge was stayed and removed. Simply because of his skin color will lead the USA to do a google search and once they see what he was charged with..they will definitely deny him without question. I also believe that his whole charge was due to the fact that he is a black man. The police report and charge was so thin, that I am almost embarrassed to say I worked for Police. I understand that one can become "jaded" working in certain fields..but it is time to move on when you reach that level....

Michelle replied 2 weeks ago   #1

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