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Pictures and Video Surface of Justin Trudeau in Blackface

In the midst of a federal election campaign, Time magazine published a photo from the 2001 yearbook of Vancouver’s West Point Grey Academy showing a then-29-year-old Justin Trudeau with dark makeup on his face, neck and hands as part of an “Arabian Nights” costume. Trudeau told assembled media that “It’s something that I didn’t realize was racist at the time, but now I recognize it was something racist to do and I regret.” He also confessed to wearing blackface makeup when he sang Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” in a talent show as a high school student. A video surfaced of a third, undated instance of Trudeau in blackface. He admitted that he could not rule out the possibility of other instances.

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Thunder Bay Police Department Accused of Systemic Racism

A two-year investigation conducted by the Office of the Independent Review Director (OIPRD) concluded that “systemic racism and neglect” is rampant in the Thunder Bay Police Services and tainted their investigations into the deaths of nine Indigenous men. The report also recommended psychological testing for prospective officers to weed out those with racist attitudes. The day the report was issued, Maclean’s named Thunder Bay Canada’s “top city for hate crimes” and published an article titled “Something must be done about the Thunder Bay police.”

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Don Cherry Fired from Hockey Night in Canada

After the 9 November broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada, during which Don Cherry made racist statements criticizing immigrants for not properly commemorating Remembrance Day, Rogers Sportsnet announced that Cherry “would immediately step down from his role with Hockey Night in Canada.” Cherry claimed that he was fired and said he wished he had expressed himself with different words. The opinions of Canadians were divided on the matter. Loyal fans of Cherry’s remained supportive and were critical of Rogers Sportsnet’s decision. Many others believed Cherry’s firing was long overdue.

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Viola Desmond

Viola Irene Desmond (née Davis), businesswoman, civil rights activist (born 6 July 1914 in Halifax, NS; died 7 February 1965 in New York, NY). Viola Desmond built a career and business as a beautician and was a mentor to young Black women in Nova Scotia through her Desmond School of Beauty Culture. In 1946, Viola Desmond challenged racial discrimination when she refused to leave the segregated Whites-only section of the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Viola Desmond was arrested, jailed overnight and convicted without legal representation for an obscure tax offence as a result. Despite the efforts of the Nova Scotian Black community to assist her appeal, Viola Desmond was unable to remove the charges against her and went unpardoned in her lifetime. Desmond’s courageous refusal to accept an act of racial discrimination provided inspiration to later generations of Black persons in Nova Scotia and in the rest of Canada. In 2010, Lieutenant-Governor Mayann Francis issued Desmond a free pardon. In December 2016, the Bank of Canada announced that Viola Desmond would be the first Canadian woman to be featured by herself on the face of a banknote — the $10 note released on 19 November 2018. Viola Desmond was named a National Historic Person by the Canadian government in 2018.

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Canadians “In Denial” About Racism, Survey Shows

An online survey of 3,111 Canadians found that more than 50 per cent of Black and Indigenous respondents experience racism “from time to time if not regularly.” Despite that, two-thirds of those surveyed agreed that “all races have the same opportunities to succeed in life.” Toronto activist Desmond Cole said the results of the poll show that “a lot of Canadians are in denial that racism is a systemic thing.”

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Calgary Flames Head Coach Bill Peters Resigns After Allegations of Racism and Abuse

Bill Peters resigned from his position as head coach of the Calgary Flames after two former players accused him of racism and physical abuse. On 11 November, former NHL player Akim Aliu tweeted that, when he was with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League, his coach directed a racial slur at him. On 12 November, former NHL defenceman Michal Jordán, who played under Peters with the Carolina Hurricanes, alleged that Peters had once kicked him. Peters issued his resignation and an apology after an investigation was conducted by the Flames and the NHL.

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Jagmeet Singh Reveals He Was Sexually Abused as a Child

In his memoir, Love & Courage, federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh discusses the racism and bullying he faced as a Sikh boy growing up in Canada, as well as the sexual abuse he endured at the hands of a tae kwon do instructor when he was around 10 years old. Singh said that not speaking publicly about the incident sooner was one of his “biggest regrets” and that he hoped going public with it now would help others with similar experiences.

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Ted King

Theodore “Ted” Stanley King, civil rights activist, real estate broker, accountant, railway porter (born 14 July 1925 in Calgary; died 7 July 2001 in Surrey, BC). Ted King was the president of the Alberta Association for the Advancement of Coloured People from 1958 to 1961, where he advocated for the rights of Black Canadians. In 1959, King launched a legal challenge against a Calgary motel’s discriminatory policy, decades before human rights protections existed throughout Canada. The case made it to the Alberta Supreme Court. Though it was not successful, King’s case exposed legal loopholes innkeepers exploited in order to deny lodging to Black patrons.

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Three Day Road

Joseph Boyden’s first novel, Three Day Road, made him one of Canada’s most prominent writers of fiction. It won multiple awards and drew attention to an overlooked aspect of Canada’s history, namely the role Indigenous people played in Canada’s military history. Inspired by the story of Anishnaabe First World War sniper Francis Pegahmagabow, Three Day Road follows a wounded soldier’s journey home. The novel parallels the death that hangs over the battlefields of the First World War with the destruction of traditional Indigenous cultures. The book won the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award.