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Federal election 2021: What Waterloo Region voters need to know about anti-racism and inclusion promises

With the federal election coming up, Cambridge Times and Metroland Media decided to take a look at the issues dominating the campaign. Here’s a local look at anti-racism and inclusion and what the federal candidates are promising.

ANTI-RACISM AND INCLUSION

In June of 2020, following the death of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests were held locally in Kitchener, Guelph, Cambridge and Brantford. Collectively thousands of people attended the marches, demanding an end to systemic racism. Similarly, when the remains of 215 children were found at a residential school in Kamloops, B.C., local memorials quickly popped up in the city of Cambridge, Kitchener, Guelph and New Hamburg. However, not many institutional changes have been made since those pivotal moments.

WHAT THE PARTIES ARE PROMISING

Liberals: The party has invested $400 million in their Black Entrepreneurship Program, and proposed Bill C-22 to address the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous people in prisons. The party recently announced a $96-million investment initiative to back 1,300 projects from Black-led organizations.

Conservatives: Erin O’Toole has said that he has zero tolerance for racism, but has not outlined any specific plans or policies to address anti-racism.

NDP: The party is calling for a ban on carding by the RCMP. The party has also proposed a task force to investigate Black and Indigenous overrepresentation in prisons. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh vowed to hold social media platforms legally responsible for the removal of hateful and extremist content.

Green party: The party has called for race-based government data across the board and a national database on police interactions. The party has also proposed having public service agencies track outcomes for Black employees and develop systems with greater accountability toward discrimination.
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