Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was silent for more than 20 seconds during a news conference Tuesday after he was asked what he thought of the forceful dispersal of protesters and President Trump calling for military intervention.
During the pause, Trudeau clearly looked uncomfortable, and seemed to be considering his response before finally answering that Canada has challenges with racism, too.
“We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States, it is a time to pull people together, but it is a time to listen, it is time to learn what injustice is and it continues despite progress over years and decades. But it is a time for us as Canadians to recognize that we, too, have our challenges that Black Canadians and racialized Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day. There is systemic discrimination in Canada, which means our systems treat Canadians of color, Canadians who are racialized differently than they do others,” said Trudeau during his daily news conference Tuesday from Ottawa.
Several cities, including Montreal and Toronto, staged sizable demonstrations over the last several days. With chants of "black lives matter," protesters showed solidarity with the family of George Floyd but also called on Canadian leaders to acknowledge that racism is a still a problem in Canada.
While most protests are continuing peacefully, Montreal Police reported that at least 11 people were arrested Sunday and investigations continue after looting and acts of mischief in the downtown core.