In recent days, we have seen incredibly troubling images out of the United States and inspiring, peaceful protests by activists in the US, in Canada and around the world. These young people are fighting for a better, fairer future and against systemic racism.
We need our governments to take action to match the activism of these young people. We firmly believe that simply caring or condemning racism is not enough. We need concrete efforts by all levels of government to create real, systemic changes.
We also need government officials to tell the truth.
With this in mind, we are troubled by false comments you made in response to questions in the Legislature about the Anti-Racism Directorate.
You have stated:
“I will say the Anti-Racism Directorate has not had any funding cuts…” and “To be clear and to repeat…there has been zero change to the budget of the Anti-Racism Directorate.”
Minister, as you are presumably aware, these statements are false and we would encourage you to correct the record in the House at your first available opportunity.
The facts are quite clear and are published as a matter of public record by your own government:
1. In 2017-2018, the former Liberal government spent $5,614,963 on the Anti-Racism Directorate, according to the Actuals your own government produced.
2. In 2018-2019, your Conservative government spent $3,553,800 on the Anti-Racism Directorate. This represents a $2.06 million actual cut from the previous Liberal government’s spending, according to your own government’s financial statements.
3. Furthermore, your own government’s financial statements project that you will spend only $4,920,000 on the Anti-Racism Directorate this fiscal year, which remains a cut as compared to the previous Liberal government’s investment in this critical area.
Minister, it is vital that we speak the truth about this incredibly difficult issue. We encourage you to correct your record.
Systemic racism is real. Premier Ford has now said himself “…of course there’s systemic racism in Ontario. There’s systemic racism across this country. I know it exists.” And we must take meaningful action to stop systemic racism.
This starts by listening to the voices of Black, Indigenous and people of colour. But it also requires those of us in positions of authority to do the people of this province the basic courtesy of telling the truth.
Lucille Collard, MPP
Ontario Liberal Critic for the Solicitor General
Michael Coteau, MPP
Don Valley East
Ontario Liberal Critic for Anti-Racism
Office of MPP Michael Coteau, Don Valley East