Idea for addressing racism in policing prompts tense exchange in Green debates

Idea for addressing racism in policing prompts tense exchange in Green debates

Idea for addressing racism in policing prompts tense exchange in Green debates

OTTAWA — One of the 10 people running to be the next leader of the Green Party of Canada said Tuesday police should have to pay racialized Canadians a fee every time they stop them — an idea that prompted a strong response from one of his rivals.

The candidates faced off Tuesday in two 40-minute English-language debates hosted by TVO, Ontario’s public broadcaster. The candidates all participated via online video links from their homes in B.C., Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. They were divided into two groups of five to make the events easier to follow.

The debates were mostly cordial, even as the candidates disagreed about everything from the best form of carbon pricing to where the Green party sits on the political spectrum.

The final question in both debates was about the idea of defunding the police, a proposal that has entered the mainstream in recent weeks in protests against systemic racism in police forces in both Canada and the United States.

It was in the responses to that question, in the waning minutes of the second debate, that Montreal environmentalist Dylan Perceval-Maxwell said getting at systemic racism requires new ideas.

“One of my ideas is for the police to give $20 to every person of colour they stop,” he said. “This would compensate a little bit to the trauma and inconvenience of being stopped and it would make police think twice before they stop them.”

Meryam Haddad, a Montreal refugee lawyer who immigrated from Syria as a child, shook her head in disbelief and anxiously waited until she could respond.

“Mr. Perceval-Maxwell, I’ve got to admit your $20 solution is super racist,” she said. “As a person of colour I find it very, very offensive.”

She said the idea would do nothing to address systemic racism.

“What would be the next step, if the person gets beaten up we give them $50?”

Perceval-Maxwell said he just wants police to “stop people of colour less.”

Most of the candidates have broadly similar views about policing, suggesting funds should be reallocated from police to social and health services but without abolishing police forces.

Vancouver astrophysicist Amita Kuttner was among the few who want the whole system torn up and rebuilt. Haddad said she does not think police can be reformed without abolishing the forces entirely, but she said she knows it would take time and there would likely have to still be something in place to provide safety for people.

Annamie Paul, a Black leader from Toronto and former adviser at the International Criminal Court, said Black and Indigenous people suffer the most from excessive use of force by police. But she said abolishing the police is “not the right strategy” because there are always going to be “very bad people doing some very predatory things and there is no amount of community or social services that is going to stop them from doing that.”

“What we need to do is be very clear about what is the appropriate role for the police and what is the appropriate role for other types of social services,” she said.

Paul said Canada should immediately begin documenting instances of excessive use of force to really understand the extent of the problem. She also said ensuring racialized and Indigenous people are put into positions of power is critical.

Also running in the race are Judy Green, Glen Murray, Andrew West, David Merner, Courtney Howard and Dimitri Lascaris.

French debates follow in July.

The new leader will be chosen in October via online and mail-in ballots. Elizabeth May, who had led the party since 2006, stepped down last fall but is remaining one of the three Green MPs in the House of Commons.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

racism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The external wall of the Bentley Post Office was destroyed when a semi drove into the building, resulting is an estimated $50,000 in damages. (Photo Submitted)
Sylvan Lake RCMP lay charges in post office destruction

One suspect is in custody the second suspect has a warrant for his arrest

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province still hopes to bring the hospitalization number down before relaxing restrictions. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
14 new deaths, 366 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta

Province nearing 100K COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

The first pages of the book, by Kristy Walker.
Sylvan Lake author pens first children’s book about COVID-19

“The Coronavirus Isn’t Scary” by Kristy Walker teaches children to take care of themselves

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, MLA Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Devin Dreeshen. (Photo Submitted)
Ag Minister announces 20% off crop insurance for Alberta farmers

Dreeshen says this will support job creators and boosting rural economy during a difficult time

Mom’s Diner owner Wesley Langlois has joined a growing number of Alberta restaurants that are allowing sit-in dining despite public health restrictions. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Red Deer diner joins sit-down dining protest

Mom’s Diner has joined a growing list of Alberta restaurants flouting health restrictions

Young hockey players were out on Bentley Tuesday for a march to a support a return to sports. (Photo courtesy of Bobby McKinlay)
(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. (Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK)
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says the government will make any necessary changes

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

(Photo submitted)
Central Alberta researchers recognized for studies in agricultural sciences

Jessica Sperber of Ponoka and David MacTaggart of Lacombe awarded prestigious scholarship

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Most Read