Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’ll propose equipping police with body-worn cameras to the country’s premiers this week, hoping for rapid movement.
The cameras document police officers’ interactions with the public and Trudeau says they’re a relatively simple way to address complaints that police in Canada treat racialized people unfairly.
“Many people in this country simply do not feel protected by the police. In fact, they’re afraid of them,” Trudeau said.
The prime minister’s promise to address the subject came days after he attended an anti-racism and anti-police brutality rally on Parliament Hill.
It also came amid protests sparked across the U.S. and Canada following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota two weeks ago.
“As you know, the federal government has jurisdiction over the RCMP,” Trudeau said. “But there are many other provincial and municipal police forces that should be looking at greater transparency measures, as well, and I will certainly be talking with the provinces and premiers about the need to move forward on measures like body cameras.”
At his daily briefing on Monday, Trudeau said fixing centuries of racial injustice won’t happen overnight but recent protests have shown him that more needs to be done quickly.
Trudeau added a look at the distribution of COVID-19 cases in large cities such as Toronto and Montreal shows that black people have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic. He said that’s a sign of the work governments need to do to address inequalities.