The Canadian Response to Campaigning

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With the uprisings against racism in America becoming more passionate following the public execution of George Floyd, Canadian students too are turning their eyes towards their own internal flaws during the global pandemic. The issue of racism and police brutality is more local than some of us initially thought. The most recent example is the passing of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old black woman who fell to her death after Toronto police arrived for a wellness check (CBC). Although her death is pending investigation, her reported last words of “Mom, help” are pushing Canadian protesters to address their own systemic racism, leading to many people seeking justice on her behalf. Whether this entailed signing petitions, calling government officials, or sending emails, many Canadians rose up to the challenge of ending police brutality.

One of Ontarian citizens’ biggest concerns is the $1.076 billion is being invested into the Toronto police in 2020 (BudgetTO). Sandy Hutchson, the founder of Black Lives Matter Canada, says this money would be better put towards mental health and other areas in need of an increased budget (Canada’s National Observer). “I want people to consider…that police are actually not good at stopping domestic violence, or gender-based violence and quite frankly they don’t prevent those things from happening,” she says. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has shown his support in ending this police brutality by taking a knee at a recent protest on June 5, despite general lack of comment from other world leaders (CNN).

On social media, there is a storm of new posts condemning both American and Canadian injustice alike. On June 2nd, over 29 million posts occurred on #BlackOutTuesday, where people posted a black screen under the hashtag in order to promote awareness of discrimination against black individuals. The purpose was to effectively create a blackout of the normal stream of media, thus allowing for Black Lives Matter information and resources to become easily accessible. Even now, the media is prevalent in spreading word of new developments regarding incidents of brutality, inciting many to take action. The global revitalization of Black Live Matter could be said to have been very social media-based, showing just how quickly information can spread from this new use of technology.

However, the movement is not all positive. Some have been quick to say that those who are not rallying on social media are complicit in systemic racism. Others dub this virtue signaling to be gaslighting individuals who are not comfortable sharing content on social media in general, not just about racism. Moreover, the rallying has led to people being more quick to trust posts on the internet, such as the recent backlash against an adjustment in defenses against sexual assault charges. There were a considerable number of headlines posted that made the adjustment appear ambiguous and provided intoxication as an excuse for sexual misdemeanors (Global News). A closer look at the law shows that it allows psychosis caused by automatism to be provided as a viable defense in court (National Post). The use of it is specific in that it is not mere intoxication that can allow for it to be used. Many individuals were misled by headlines, and the same may be prone to happen in future incidents. For this reason, it is important to always check sources when news comes out.

The University of Waterloo has recently issued a statement to all students. In their first posting, the university declared that they stood with students against racism in a tone where many commenters felt as though the university was making empty promises. The initial vague Instagram post has been pictured below.

The general criticism against this response was that it failed to address the many events concerning George Floyd at the time and provided little-to-no active actions towards preventing racism. They have since reissued a statement which students still find distressing – that much can be seen in the comments of their first post regarding current events. Many of the concerns addressed by students include racism on campus and regarding particular professors, especially BJ Rye, in their role perpetuating certain racial perspectives.

Although there is no saying what other events may transpire, the situation in America has ignited a revolution in Canada which will hopefully lead to a furthering of black and minority rights.


BudgetTO: https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/9789-TPS-2020-Public-Book-V1.pdf

Canada’s National Observer: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/06/09/features/black-lives-matter-movement-canada-founder-sandy-hudson-perhaps-wild-notion-you

CBC, Regis: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/regis-korchinski-paquet-toronto-1.5593718

CNN, Trudeau: https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/05/us/justin-trudeau-kneel-black-lives-matter-trnd/index.html

Global News: https://globalnews.ca/news/7029685/womens-group-angered-intoxication-ruling-sexual-assault/

National Post: https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/court-throws-out-law-barring-self-induced-intoxication-as-defence-to-violence

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