>> Ginelle: Good Evening, everyone. We're just going to get started in a few minutes. I want to ask everyone to take your seats, please.

>> Ginelle: Good Evening. I am pleased to welcome all of you to this public meeting in Kitchener, one of several meetings the Ontario government will be holding ago cross the province to hear from the public about key systemic issues. I'm Ginelle Skerritt, Director of Warden Woods Community Center located in southwest Scarborough and I'll be your moderator for this evening.

I'd like to introduce Myeengun Henry of the Chippewas, of the Thames First Nation, elected Councillor, Manager of Aboriginal Services at Conestoga College, Aboriginal Studies Professor, Aboriginal adviser for the Law Society of Upper Canada, traditional medicine and ceremony practitioner, resident elder at McMaster University.


Ginelle: As is the tradition, I am passing tobacco to you to thank you and welcome you for your presence here today.

>> Elder Myeengun: Good Evening. It’s always an important time when we come together to talk about important issues such as we will tonight, but in order to do that, we need to remember that we all come from a very important part of this history. As humans, I think what I've come to know our Elders always talked about, about the needs that humans have and how related we all are dependent of the strength that Creator has given us all this will to do. Tonight, as all nations to him together, we have this opportunity to share this knowledge; we'd like to bring our hearts and our minds and our bodies, our souls together to have a conversation that is necessary. When I look at the medicine wheel that our ancestors have provided, it said that if you look into the beginning of time when humans came to this beautiful land was created so perfectly and in serve harmony, it was a place where we didn't see racism. We didn't see those problems that exist that doesn't need to be here. Creator said that we all have a place to share in this land. We have a place to understand each other. The messages that I think Creator always wanted us to know was that we should care about each other and work together. So tonight I'd like to bring us to that point where we have an opportunity to share this knowledge, and with that being said, there’s ceremony that we have been always trying to bring together. This ceremony is bringing our hearts and our souls together, and if you've ever seen the drum when it starts, it sends a message across to the four winds in the four directions, and all those in those directions pay attention to that drum, because it sets our heartbeat to work in conjunction with our mother the earth underneath the earth. There is the water and under that water there’s heartbeat that we all generate toward when we feel the strength of us being together. So tonight I'd like to offer an opening prayer in a language that I can only say residential schools tried to take away from us, the residential school system that was on these lands took a lot of our understanding and our identity away, but didn't totally do that. Our Elders who went into the bush and carried forward our ceremonies and our languages and all those that are necessary, we honour them today as the warriors of keeping these things alive.

So tonight, as I am a product of residential school, both of my parents went to residential schools and told me that my language wouldn't be useful, my ceremonies were not necessary, but that’s what they learned. That’s what we know now is that they are so much important for us. They're so important for us to understand that we can act in unity if we know ourselves our identity. So tonight I'd like to offer an opening prayer and sing a welcoming song that will unite our hearts together. They said when you hear that drum, our hearts start to beat at the same time. And then we can have unity and then we can have understanding and we can feel connected to our beautiful mother the earth again and have that relationship that is necessary for us as humans in this world alongside the plants and animals and the rivers and the waters and the winds. All those important elements that bring us together as we live in this beautiful place we call Mother Earth

So I'd like to offer this prayer and then I'll open up with a song and we'll get this beautiful evening together. I just really appreciate you coming out tonight and enjoying this beautiful beginning to feel as a part of this cycle that we travel through in this part of the world. So if I can share this prayer that you may not understand, because the words are from ancient times. They come from the wisdom of our ancestors and passed on through generation, and I've been very fortunate to have been able to pick up these words, and I'd like to pass them on to you tonight. So I'm going to ask that you think about Creator in these words. Think about your children, your future generations to come, and I think we begin this evening in a very respectful manner. It is about the unity that takes place when we come together. In our teachings that we've come to understand today is that when we work together, when we find that unity in very tough subjects, we can come up with resolve. We can see what’s happening in this world and it comes to people acting inappropriately. We can see injustice happening throughout the world and we want to do something about that within our own hearts and our homes. And we take this opportunity now to ask our Creator to give us that ability to build together a world that I think was originally set for us all to live in harmony with all things. I'd like to give us a chance to feel that unity, to feel that beat that we have. The heartbeat that comes from the drum will be the one that allows us to understand our reason for being. So they said the first four beats of that drum is to set a message out to the four directions, for all those in this world that live in different parts of this beautiful place we call Mother Earth will hear this. And if you ever notice when a drum is started, the animals come around, the eagles and the hawks, because they want to look down and they want to be part of this process together, because they know through that song and through that heartbeat, they're connected, also, to this beautiful world that Creator gave us. So the first four beats are for those. And then we start our heartbeat together.

I'd like to take this opportunity to ask you to stand for a second while we do this song honour.


And they say the last Verse of the song is for those who inspired us that may have those people who have gone under that spirit world. We all have loved ones who have moved onto that spirit world, and they say that that loved one doesn't need that heartbeat anymore, because they don't travel on this beautiful Mother Earth. They're up with Creator. About but we still honor them because they've sparked us and they've given us inspiration and they still do today, even if they're moved onto the spirit world. So if you have somebody who has moved onto that spirit world, be with them during this verse of the song, because they're the ones who will inspire to us do good things in this world.


I'd like to thank Creator. I'd like to thank you and all of these things that Creator has given us in the world together in a comfortable and strong manner so that the next generations will have that ability to know that good people exist and the strength of us working together will allow this to happen in this world and have that opportunity tonight. So take that within your heart, take that within your soul that tonight’s topic that we're going to talk about might be emotional, but we can move forward and end racial injustice in this country. Thank you very much for allowing me to open tonight.


>> Ginelle: Thank you. Joining us tonight is local MPP Vernile, who will introduce Minister Coteau.

>> MPP Vernile : Good evening, everyone. It’s wonderful to see so many of you here at Kitchener City Hall. I'm Daiene Vernile. My constituency office is down the street on Queen Street if any of you wish to visit me at any time. I am so delighted to welcome the Minister for Children and Youth Services to Kitchener tonight. He is also responsible for our new Anti-Racism Directorate. His job is to look at the racism in Ontario.

I'd like to start by recognizing VIP people we have this evening. Ken Sealing is our Regional Chair. Stand up and wave. Hi, Ken. We also have Tom Galloway, Regional councilor. Tom? Counselor Elizabeth Clark, I know you're here. And we have our Chief of Police, Brian Larkin, who has taken time from his busy schedule to be with us. We don't recognize you without your uniform on tonight. Hi, Brian.

A while ago when you decided you were going to run an Anti-Racism Directorate, you had a meeting very early and you allowed your, encouraged people, to come out to it if they were interested in helping you out, and I was very interested in that. And first of all, I want to apologize to you and your staff for the numerous and ongoing pesky phone calls that I made to you, because I really wanted you to come to Kitchener. I know initially we weren't on the list of communities that you were coming to, but you did decide to come over here. Michael leaned over and he said, you know, we haven't seen such a big crowd yet. Good on you for showing up tonight and showing Mike that we're worth visiting.


MPP Vernile: In advance of tonight’s meeting, I actually went out on Saturday with some volunteers. I know some are here tonight. I saw Charlie Love over in the corner. We spent almost three hours knocking on doors in southeast Kitchener asking a few questions. We asked people, do you think that racism is an issue in Waterloo region? If so, what should we do about it? We had really mixed feedback, didn't we? We had some people say, oh, no, it’s not an issue in Kitchener Waterloo. Some people told us very personal stories that were quite disturbing, and the one thing that everyone seemed to agree on is that government should play a role in addressing the issue of systemic racism. Every single person said that to us. Nobody disagreed. And I know that you all have personal stories that you want to share with us tonight. I'm here, in part, because I have a personal story. The worst part of my day every day when I was a kid was lunchtime when I'd go to open up my lunch bag and it was a Labla’s grocery bag, because that’s all we could afford. I come from a family of Italian immigrants, so we didn't have a fancy lunch box. And I would pull out a sandwich my Italian mother had lovingly packed, and it was usually something like thick Calabrese bread with roasted red peppers smothered with garlic and red pepper, {but you know kids and I say Canadian, I'm Canadian, I was born here, but they would say things to me like, your lunch stinks and you stink and why don't you go back to where you came from? But I'm from Canada. Where was I supposed to go?

So when you hear comments like that every day, day after day for months and years, it has its toll. It made me feel marginalized. It made me feel like an outcast. And it was very demeaning. Fast forward all of these years and I know that this is still happening and I know that many of you have stories like this to tell us tonight and that’s why Michael Coteau is here is to listen to you. Michael, you were first elected in 2011 as the MPP for Don Valley East. You worked very hard in this particular ministry. Before that you were the Minister of Culture, Sport, and Tourism. I think you were having too much fun in that ministry and that’s why they moved you over to something tougher. Michael has quickly become one of my favorite people at Queens Park. When you stand to speak in the Legislature, you're very commanding, and when you look at your resumé, you're a person who gets things done, and this is why you have this job now. Please join me in welcoming the Honourable Michael Coteau to Kitchener.

>>Minister Coteau: Well, good evening, everyone. It’s a real honour to be here today. I want to thank MPP Vernile for that introduction. If you want to trade sandwiches, the way you described it was amazing.

>> MPP Vernile: I just have to say something. I'm sorry to interrupt you. Here’s the kicker to that story. Those same people who tormented me now go to Vincenzo’s and buy the same sandwich. It’s an Italian deli up the treat. Right?

>> Minister Coteau: Thank you.


>>Minister Coteau: I want to start by recognizing that we're on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe Neutral and Hudden-Shinome (confirm proper name with MIRR) and give thanks to our Indigenous past here in Ontario and the culture and history in Ontario and across the country. I want to thanks Elder Henry for being here tonight and to sharing your song and your words with us. It’s been interesting. This is our sixth meeting across the province and we've always opened it up to make a prayer and to present us with words of wisdom. Wherever we go, the message is a little different, but the topic is back to the point about we need to love each other more and work with each other more. And when we were in Sudbury a couple of weeks ago, a gentleman who came in to speak to us, he said that, you know, in life we have things that we can feed. We can feed all of these different emotions we have. If we have lots of love and we feed that love constantly, we focus on that, we have lots of love to give to people. If we focus on helping folks and we feed that, it makes it better people. If there’s hate inside of you or racism, some people are born into a racist environment and you feed that constantly with anger. You can only imagine the type of person that you're going to become, and we all feed ourselves with different feelings and thoughts and it’s important for us to recognize what we're feeding, and racism is being fed a little too much in the past and we're seeing it more now, especially in the past few years.

I was in Hamilton a couple weeks ago at a local mosque and I met with the Association that is responsible for making sure, making sure the mosque functions well. They were telling me a story and it got national attention. A man, 34 years old, went and tried to burn the mosque down in Hamilton. So I went to go visit them, because people were scared and I was there, and as they were talking to me and telling me what was happening, I could just envision, you know, it was a big mosque. I could envision kids playing in there, families, and you know, there, too, to be together with the community to pray to God. And someone is thinking that, you know, it would be better to burn this place down.

And I thought to myself, well, that’s not The Ontario that I want to be part of. That’s not an Ontario that we want to be part of. We want to be part of the Ontario that brings people together, that provides opportunity to people, and we can help build an Ontario that continues to allow ourselves to be a beacon, the place where people want to come from all across the world to be here because of the protection of our rights and the values that we share as Ontarians, to protect each other’s values.

So I know the conversation around racism is an exhausting conversation. It’s a difficult conversation. I said to the Chief of Police earlier today, it is a very difficult conversation for people to have. And I want to thank the counselors, the regional councilors and the Chief of Police for being here. It’s hard to get people in these positions into meetings. I think this is the best representation we've had from the municipality and the counselors of all of our meetings, so I'd like to give them a big round of applause for being here.


Minister Coteau: But we know that racism is a difficult conversation to have. People are exhausted. We go into meetings and people say, Michael, we've been having this conversation for years. What makes this any different 1,2,3,4 just get on with the work. Let’s move on. Enough talk. And what we're doing here, because we do have a plan. We have a plan to look for ways to fight systemic racism in Ontario using government, and what we want to do is present our plan to you and to look for ways to improve it and then launch it right after the consultations are finished. We've been to Scarborough, Hamilton, and Mississauga. We were in Sudbury. So this is our sixth meeting. We're hearing different things, different conversations in every jurisdiction we're going. And I really look forward to the conversation that’s about to happen tonight, because I really believe we can pull value from these meetings and make our plan to launch the Directorate and to make sure that it’s really achieving what it was set out to achieve.

Sam Erry is the Assistant Deputy Minister. Put up your hand. Sam is over here. Sam is going to present a plan to everyone, and then we're going to put forward some questions. Now, the questions are not there, you know, to restrict the conversation. Please use those questions as just a guide or to get your brain thinking about what we're doing, but please feel free to talk about issues on a personal level, issues that affect community, but also, and this is the most important thing that we need, is does our plan actually make sense? What are the good things? What are the bad things? How would you change it? What have we missed? What would you add? That type of stuff.

I'm going to finish by saying this. I served as a school board trustee for eight years in Toronto, and as a school board trustee, myself and another trustee brought in a motion to collect race based data. So disaggregated data. We're the first school board in Canada to do so, and I just read that Peel is now considering it. So that’s a good thing. But we won that vote by one vote, and we went out and we actually collected the data, and it was a difficult thing to do, because putting people in-boxes is always, you know, it’s a difficult thing. People don't want to be placed into a certain category. We define ourselves in very different ways. But at the end of the day, we were able to be so specific about student achievement in Toronto, and I use this example all the time, that you could tell if you asked the questions, how are grade eight girls of Canadian descent, second generation, who have two parents in the home living in the west end of Toronto, how are they doing in French? And you could get the data instantly. And that’s the type of data that we can use to help community-based associations, religious based organizations, municipalities, different agencies of government to make better decisions when they're actually doing their planning. And through that process, the Toronto District School Board changed the way their opportunities fund work. And schools that were rated in the top 10 were bumped up into the two or 300s afterwards and there was a new prioritization of schools based on need, based on clean data, and that’s one of the elements that we're trying to work on here. So I just want to say thank you for being here. Thank you for being a part of this conversation. I feel very confident walking into a room and seeing so many people here who want to discuss racism. It means to me that this is a community that takes the issue very seriously, and I look forward to hearing from you tonight, and I want to thank your MPP, MPP Vernile for making us come here, because it is I think a great conversation. I just want to thank you for your leadership at the legislature, but also here in the local community. Thank you very much. Sam?


Sam: >> Thank you for being here and your advocacy. As citizens, it’s very important to any democracy, so it’s great that you're here. No speaker should apologize before they speak, but I have to, because I have a lingering cold, so forgive me if I start hacking a little bit.

>> I want to give you a little bit of an overview of some of the priorities and our focus areas at the Anti-Racism Directorate. I do want to address that these are early days and much of the work we're going to do is foundational work and there’s a reason for that, and that’s partly why we're also out having these consultations, so we can improve upon the thinking that’s been done to date and there has been a lot of thinking done to date. So let me ask you. Can everybody see the slide, first of all? You're good? Okay.

So we've got four squares there that are up on the screen. And the reason these four squares are up is because they essentially constitute holistically the conversation around racism. And most people, let me just try to see if the pointer works here, nope, most people when they talk to you about racism will speak about racism in the bottom right hand quadrant. They will talk about individual racism and the racism they experience, because that’s what we feel and see on a day-to-day basis. But the reality is that beyond that, we have other forms of racism, which is cultural racism, societal racism, and systemic and institutional racism. All right? So we will be obsessed with looking at the very top right hand quadrant, which is systemic and institutional racism, because all the homework shows is if you solve the problem upstream, you solve it all the way down. Okay?

Now, systemic racism, this is a very endemic thing. It’s been entrenched over many, many years in society, you know, in the Colonialist and post Colonialist era. It was consciously done. Our brother talked about residential schools and so forth. That was a conscious policy of ensuring that Indigenous people, you know, were robbed of their communities, thank you and their heritage, their language, but subsequent to that, as we moved into I'll call it more modern times, you know, policies were put in place unconsciously. You've heard the expression, unconscious bias. People may not actually be doing it with a very conscious intent, but because of the model that people have been socialized in, because of whatever the mainstream model is, these policies have been put in place. So in order to solve systemic racism, we need to make sure that anti-racism is everybody’s business. That it’s not just the business of government. It’s the business of everyone in society, because at the end of the day, what we want to achieve is racial equity. We want to make sure that all the citizens in any society, in particular those in Ontario and Canada, are included and feel inclusive in what happens in society. So clearly, government and government institutions have a very, very important role, and that’s why as the Minister mentioned, the Anti-Racism Directorate is right within government. I'll spare you the sort of bureaucracy and the bureaucratic language around this, but we are actually in a very privileged position to be in what’s call the Cabinet Office, which if you understand government bureaucracy, is actually at the centre, and so we will be privy to everything that comes through. That’s very, very important that we're not buried away somewhere, and this was the Premier’s wish, to have us in the Cabinet Office so we can catch everything upstream as the policies and programs and services are being developed.

But the business community has a very, very important role. All right? If you look at the homework and when you look at racial inequity, at the root of it is economics. So, you know, our appeal is also to the business community to be very involved in this conversation, and of course communities have an important role. Parents have an important role. The education system has an important role. This is a definition that we're using. It’s a widely understood and acknowledged definition of systemic racism.

So the focus on systemic racism, you might be sitting back there thinking, gee, I hope you're not starting from scratch. I can tell you unequivocally we are not starting from scratch, because an enormous amount of time, energy, intellect, experience, pain, and resources were put into these very, very prominent reports. And all these reports, the punchline really in the slide is all of these reports clearly indicate that if you're going to solve the problem, you need to focus on systemic issues. And of course, as our brother also pointed out earlier in the ceremony, you know, the most recent painful event was through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the impact of residential schools. So we have all of these reports that are available to us, so at the Directorate, we are going to be mining these reports for their recommendations and trying to put a plan together to execute on these reports.

So what’s our mandate at the end of the day and at the end of the day, clearly we need to eliminate systemic racism around the Ontario government. That’s a critical aspect of what we have to do. And as many of you are aware, at least with the Ontario government, we don't actually deliver business directly. We deliver it to many, many partners. We call them transfer payment partners. These are agencies, crown agencies like OLG, LCBO, hospitals, school boards, so when we talk about these institutions, we're talking about all of those institutions that receive government funding and resources.

Increasing awareness and understanding of systemic racism amongst the public, that’s very, very critical. Many of the recommendations that came out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and also those from the seven inquests in Thunder Bay speak to, you know, Anti-Indigenous racism and how to make the general population and public aware of this; promoting fair practices and policies that lead to racial equity. Clearly, that is the goal and the destination. And then collaborating with communities; this is very, very important. I'm going to speak about this a bit later. This collaboration has to be very inclusive, and it has to be done in a way that has not been traditionally done by government and bureaucracies.

So what is the focus? Basically, we're going to be looking at four priority areas. The first is policy research and evaluation. The conversation that we want to have needs to be and should be, and I hope you'll agree, an evidence-based conversation. The Minister talked earlier about data, and where there’s no data, there’s no problem. Right? So we need to start by having data. And as the Minister referenced earlier, only the Toronto District School Board and now the Peel school board, and I know the Toronto Children’s Aid Society is collecting disaggregated race based data. So one of the first things we're going to do is develop a province-wide disaggregated race based data collection framework. We're going to do that so that everyone can start collecting the data within the same frame of reference. So at the end of the day, when we do get the data, we're not comparing apples and oranges. We've got apples and apples or oranges and oranges. So that’s going to be very important. So imagine what we have that framework, we'll push it out and as all of these sectors start collecting that data and that data will come in and we will be able to mine and analyze and assess that data, and so that’s really the second bullet there.

What we're also going to do is develop a province wide Anti-Racism Strategy. And this Strategy will have several components. It will have an Anti-Black racism component. It will have an Islamophobia component. It will have a component that speaks to Anti-Indigenous racism so that we'll be recognizing many of the issues from a systemic point of view that are out there in society. And it’s not limited to that, but we'll be developing that framework.

The other thing that’s not up there that I want to reference for you is that there are some very progressive jurisdictions in the United States such as the City of Portland and Seattle and King County in Seattle that have actually done excellent work when it comes to race and tackling race and racism. And so we are again not starting from scratch. We will be looking at some of the best practices in those jurisdictions and trying to figure out how can we employ many of the tools that they have in an Ontario context? And it’s really those tools that are going to help us inform the policy, right at the front end. Okay?

Public education and awareness. Again, we're going to take a very evidence-based approach. We're going to do a lot of market research over the next few months to ascertain, you know, what do people think about when they hear the term race? Do they, as your MPP, do the quick survey, is racism a problem? What does systemic racism mean to people? And we're going to do that through surveys and focus groups and get a pile of information back that’s going to help us better understand, you know, where is the average person at in this conversation? And then how do we then need to calibrate a campaign, when it’s a social media based campaign or some other campaign around anti-racism for the province, which is going to be critical?

Community collaboration. There are a handful of organizations that we have discovered and be happy to find out those that might be out here in Southwestern Ontario. I guess Kitchener and Waterloo are in Southwest Ontario. Am I showing my ignorance? Where their core business is anti-racism. We talk about anti-racism. Not talking about multiculturalism. Not talking about diversity. We're not talking about inclusion. We're talking about anti-racism. So these core organizations are known to us. They have expertise and experience and we're going to be engaging with them as we move forward, because we're going to grow up together on this. We're going to solve these problems together and so we'll be engaging them as we develop our production and we develop our campaigns, as we develop our tools so that we have that expertise and advice.

I don't mind saying this publicly. I've said it before. The public services traditionally don't have anti-racism competencies. We wouldn't be having this conversation if we had anti-racism competencies in public services. Most bureaucracies have competencies around policy development, program delivery, and so forth. So we will be recruiting heavily from the community that anti-racism expertise into the Directorate, so we have credentialized people experienced in doing anti-racism work to drive this agenda.

Sustainable governance. One of the things that we're hearing throughout all of these conversations, and it’s coming out loud and clear, is that people want this exercise, this initiative to be a sustainable exercise. What do I mean by that? People want the Directorate to have life beyond just the mandate respectfully of a particular government, because if you're doing foundational work, it’s going to take time. If you're doing research, you're collecting data, you're developing tools, you're raising the consciousness inside the organization with practical thinkers and policy specialists; this takes time. So Premier and the Minister has tasked us to think about long-term options for the Directorate so that it’s not at the mercy of whatever the government of the day might be. So it’s a very apolitical conversation, so the work and the skills can be developed over time as we move forward. So that’s a very important piece.

Last but not least, as a subset of that, these are early days. We are developing the skill set in the organization. So we did have an open recruitment process and we're just going through that. I can tell you that it’s rare, but it’s happening. We'll be in that envious position of having really high quality talent interested in coming to work at the Directorate. It will be a wonderful thing once we get all ramped up and ready to go. That’s just a quick drive by for you. These are early days, and these are four of the core pillars. As we look forward to your comments and your feedback relative to this, and of course your personal experiences or otherwise. Thank you.


>> Ginelle: So today we are here to hear from you, the public, on these key issues regarding racism. And so we've divided the evening into three parts. So first you heard Minister Coteau’s remarks, the Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism and for Children and Youth Services. We also heard just now from the Anti-Racism Directorate about its mandate and key priorities. And now we're going to turn to the community and we're going to discuss -- we're going to have an open discussion, I should say, guided by the questions that were mentioned in order to hear from you. Our discussion will focus on key systemic anti-racism issues that are within Ontario’s jurisdiction.

So first, before we begin, I'd like to go over the rules of engagement and a few housekeeping comments. So again, the government is here to listen to you, and this meeting is being live streamed and recorded and it may be publicly made available after today’s session. So joining the meeting means that you understand and consent to this. French and American Sign Language translation is available at this meeting. We ask that you make sure to use the microphone, because that makes it easier for those doing the sign language translation to make sure that we hear what you're saying.

There are light refreshments in the lounge area and the bathrooms are located to my right, your left. In the event that you parked in the underground, there are parking vouchers available at the registration table directly in front of me, directly behind you.

We have several items to get through, and in the interest of hearing from as many people as possible, and we do have a full crowd tonight, we're asking that you keep your comments to about two minutes for each response. I'm going to be using my trustee phone to monitor the time and I ask you to respect the time limit and help me to make sure that we hear from everyone.

So you should have received some comment cards. Does everyone have one? Could someone hold that up? Yes, excellent. So those cards are there to guide your feedback and so on, however, as mentioned, you're not limited to commenting on those. In the event that your two minutes runs out and you have more to say, feel free to use the comment cards and also to visit the e-mail at antiracism@ontario.ca, and that should be on the card as well for your reference.

I want to point out, we have youth ambassadors to help us today and they're wearing red T-shirts. Give everybody a wave. They are going to facilitate your journey to the mics and will assist you to make sure that I see and so I'll acknowledge you when you come up to speak.

I think that we're ready to move on to our discussion. We're here to hear from you. We're focusing on policy, research, public education and awareness, collaboration with communities, sustainable governance.

So if you want to just stand at the front --

>> Audience Member: Just a question about the race based data. I just wanted to know what disaggregated data meant, and I also wanted to know what was the discussion about funding to collect that data? Is that appropriate?

>>Sam: I guess I'm answering that one.

>>Minister: I'm not going to.


>>Sam: So part one of your question was about disaggregated data. So obviously, you know, when you're collecting data, whatever it might be, it can't be personalized data. All right? So basically, by disaggregating it, you're annonymizing the data and you're reporting it at an aggregate level, at a higher level to demonstrate certain trends and patterns. So for privacy and other issues, you would not be collecting data in a very personal sense. Okay?

The funding issue is an interesting question. I think you can come at it a number of ways. What we're going to provide to various sectors and institutions is a framework. And they can take a look at that framework and look at their infrastructure. Some of them may be well positioned to collect that data. For example, if you're doing a lot of front line work, you would be able to collect that data fairly easily, and others may need to build infrastructure to support that. I think once we have a sense of who we're talking about and what they need, we can look at that conversation. You know? But as I was mentioning earlier, the government does provide through transfer payment dollars a significant amount of funding for a number of needs, and that could be something that if an organization wishes to use those dollars to do some of that work, that could be considered {}.

>> Ginelle: Okay. Thank you. We have one more person at the mic. I just want to say that this is your chance. We don't want you to walk away wishing you had said something. So come to the mic and let us know what you have to say.

>>Audience Member: Hello. (name and identifying information removed) We are the very First Nation on the soils of North America. Most Canadians don't know that. It was through the Vatican concord of 1610 that we made these arrangements with the Vatican so we could trade with Europe. We don't even know our history, so the Board of Education has to be part of the truth.

Another they think that took place, we were also subject to genocide by Jeffrey Amherst who conducted the genocide against the Mi'kmaq people, wiped away 90% of them by way of smallpox, and then he did the deportation of the Acadians. I'm from the genocide survivors. He also was the one who instigated the genocide of the Indigenous people in America from east to west. He’s the reason why the Lakota Sioux have been subject to genocide. That was Amherst, too. So the Canadian history and the history of genocides of the Indigenous people have to be taught, because Canadian and American hearts are bound from your Amherst in the culture of genocide and the genocide was rooted through the Vatican actually by Alexander the Sixth and the Doctrine of Discovery.

There’s whole history we need to teach, and I hope that Ontario takes the time to go to First Nations community with the same presentations and information to build that bridge of trust that we can grow together, because life is not protected with equity in Ontario today. All the pollution laws that we have in Ontario are provincial law and they don't apply on a reservation. Here in Waterloo if there’s a spill, I can call the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources. If it happens again, they increase the fine. If it happened on a First Nation reserve, they go to the federal government for help. They say it’s a provincial issue. They go to the province. They're told, we can't help you. You're on reservation. So there’s no solution for them and they get contaminated to the point of death. Sarnia has one of the worst contaminations in Canada right now and people are dying there at a high rate. The toxicity is to the point that they're going extinct because there’s no more baby boys. The baby boys are dying off because of the chemicals changing the sex of the children.

So we have these genocides still taking place in Ontario. We need equal protection of all life in Ontario. So extend pollution law. Work with First Nation to make it mandatory across the province. Please protect life equally. And that’s all I have to say, thank you.

>> Ginelle: Thank you.


>> Ginelle: Okay. You can go ahead. I think she’s indicating that you should go first. Yes? Go ahead.

>>Audience Member: I just want to tell you about an experience I had. I don't know where it fits into all of this. Yes, when we were kids, we got taunted and called names, you know, but you grow up. You have a family. July 12th, my sister came from BC and we went to the small mall, family park mall. We went in the store, bought some things, and as usual, I handed in my status card. The girl says, we don't take that. In the meantime, I didn't have any money and my sister handed me $20 to pay for what I got. And I said, why? She said, because you're not buying it for yourself. You're buying it for her. I said, no. It’s mine. She’s lending me the money. She just lost it. She called us every name from stupid Indians to lazy to everything. So eventually, we just threw everything down and start to walk out. She ran ahead of us into the mall, was waving her hands at everybody trying to get their attention. Indians were standing there trying to, I don't know, whatever. We just walked out, got in a car, sat there for half an hour, couldn't figure out what happened.

So I just wanted to tell you that it’s not the new commerce that everybody would think that is getting -- I don't know what the word is. Picked on? Indigenous people are still putting up with what they've had most of their lives. Thank you.


>> Ginelle: Thank you. Sorry. MPP is asking when did that happen? July  12th, 2016. Go ahead.

>>Audience Member: Hi. Thanks. I just want to quickly acknowledge that this meeting is happening tonight because of the Black Lives Matter activists that were parked out of Queens Park all winter long this year. So my first question is you've created this Anti-Racism Directorate and I'm wondering what kind of efforts are happening within Parliament, within government? Are you going to have anti-racism, anti-oppression training or work or conversations of some kind within Parliament? Within every sector of government itself? Within the OPS?

The second question I have is I think it’s great that you're talking about finding the evidence, so one example that is top of my mind is are you looking at the number of people within the University system who get tenure? Who gets tenure and who doesn't get tenure? What is the percentage of the people of colour within every University that don't get tenure? And can you get this information from the unions in the University system is that data there or is that data that you have to ask unions to collect for you? Thank you.

>>Minister Coteau: Okay. So I'll start with one of the second questions. One of the conversations we have is where do we start? I've mandated Children’s Aid Societies. I've been very public about making sure that Children’s Aid Societies collect that type of data. We're seeing school boards move forward in that direction. I think the best place to start is within government, but it has to come to universities, we've heard universities. We've heard healthcare. We've heard justice, corrections policing. We've heard public appointments and boards. We've heard so many different areas. Obviously, at the very beginning when we build a framework, we're going to try to capture the information that’s easily accessible and can work with that framework, but I think, you know, universities, I know the University of Toronto now has taken a position where we've made a commitment to collect that type of data. We'll work and build a framework that any University will be able to use in order to collect that type of information. Does that answer your question? The answer is no, we're not going to mandate universities to do that immediately. At this point, you know, as a Ministry responsible for Children and Youth Services, Children Aid Societies , policing, school boards, you think, things like that, there’s a trend that’s taking place. We can't mandate everyone at the same time, because we just don't have the skills or expertise developed. But it’s an area that we would look into considering for long-term strategic planning for Ontario when it comes to the entire Anti-Systemic Racism Strategy for the province.

>>Unknown: Can you respond through the mic, please?

>> Audience Member: I guess I'm wondering, I understand you've got to go through this one step at a time, but you know, what is on the agenda? What sectors are you going to be approaching? I mean, this is information, like the unions could find this information for you.

>>Unknown: Right.

>> Audience Member: This is not a huge -- it’s not research that you have to do yourselves. So are you saying it’s not on the list of sectors that you're going to have a conversation with?

>>Minister Coteau: No. Any sector, all sectors would be considered. We're going to put forward a strategic plan with identified sectors, but at this point, I can't tell you that university and colleges would be one of these sectors. I believe it’s come up before, but when we're out there talking to Ontarians, the places that they're telling us to focus on is education. They're saying focus on education and the criminal justice system. That’s what we're hearing mostly from.

Sam, would you say that that’s probably the three that people are speaking of? Does that answer your question? What you're saying is you'd like it to be one of the considerations.

>> Audience Member: I mean, I guess what I'm basically saying, you know, the colonial legacy is there in every sector of society. So racism is in every sector of society.

>>Unknown: Right.

>> Audience Member: You've created an Anti-Racism Directorate for the Province of Ontario. There should be one for every province. We should have anti- racism training from Parliament all the way down through every, you know, area of society. So what is the framework? What are you going to tell us? Are you going to share the evidence with us as you're collecting it? Where would you find this information? And what’s the pathway for us? What is the pathway that you're on that’s basically the question that I'm asking?

>> Minister Coteau: So what Sam Erry presented, those five areas that we're going to focus on, there’s different pillars, that’s the focus and that’s the direction. I'll come back early next year with a business plan on how the Directorate will operate and what it will focus on. I've been mandated by the Premier to develop a strategy, and the strategy will include all of those elements, public awareness campaign, the collection of data, building a sustainability plan and governance structure for the organization. Building a framework that other organizations can use in order to collect data and to do self-test to see if there are actually different elements of systemic racism that play within the organization. But what we're doing here is collecting ideas and building it into a plan. I've met personally with about 40 organizations that specifically focus on areas like systemic racism. And now we're listening to the communities saying this is the direction we'd like to go in, and then we'll present a plan back to the public and go forward with that plan.

In regards to your first question around what we are doing for training internally, I know there’s been some anti-oppression work around Indigenous communities within government. My hope would be that we would move forward with a plan that would have anti-oppression elements that would focus on Indigenous anti-Black racism, Islamophobia and other forms of oppression within government, so people are sensitive to those pieces. I met with a group of young people today. Well, they presented through the Child Advocates Office , and most of them, I would say 90% were from the Black community and about 90% had gone through child protection. There was about 150 young people in the room. And the number one complaint I heard was that they weren't sensitive to their cultural needs, that they felt disrespected, and there was systemic racism, you know, and individual based racism throughout their entire experience not only for, you know, people who were in care of them, but people who were working for Children Aid Societies, none and there’s obviously great people doing great work out there, but the message I keep hearing in Children Aid Societies is that it’s an element that actually has an everything on these young people.

The justice system, you know, has an over-representation of Indigenous and Black, you know, Black children and men and women in our public prisons, you know. This happens. So we know that these things are happening. We need to collect data, but we need to also work with people who are working with young people, in this case Children Aid Societies, to understand that there has to be a cultural sensitivity when working with young people in these types of positions. Thank you.

>> Audience Member: Thanks.

>> Ginelle: Thank you. Well go over to this mic.

>> Audience Member: You know you're getting old when you see the Anti-Racism Directorate, because I seem to remember we had an Anti-Racism Secretariat , and my concern is the fourth pillar, sustainable governance, because the Anti-Racism Secretariat was disbanded by the previous government. So what are you going to do? Can you do anything to convince me that this is not just a two-year project?

>> Ginelle: Well, what I would suggest that people do, because the purpose of the meeting tonight is really to hear your suggestions, is that it’s most helpful to frame your comments in that way so that we get an idea of what you want to see happen with the Directorate rather than specific questions to either the Minister or the staff who are going to be working on it, because then they will spend most of the time, you know, answering you, and we really want to hear. I think that’s the purpose is that they would like to hear your ideas, but you can correct me.

>> Audience Member: If I can make a comment.

>> Ginelle: Sorry. Okay.

>> Audience Member: Government come out and speak to communities all the time. They gather information. We all know that. We suggest, we recommend a whole lot of stuff, and we don't see a lot of changes. And then when there are changes, sometimes Anti-Racism Secretariat dies. So now five or six years later, you're creating a new Directorate. You're asking us questions that all of the reports that you saw up there, a lot of us had been involved in the process. The Stephen Lewis Report, the Roots of Violence Report. There are hundreds of reports that people have been involved in. So there is a lot of stuff there for you to mine: Data, information. I guess I'm feeling a little bit jaded about this activity, to be honest with you. And so I don't have a recommendation, so I can slap myself, but I think that is important for you to consider how you're going to make sure this continues beyond two or three years.

>> Minister Coteau: Thank you very much. The truth is if any government can change, you know, through legislation, any aspect of government at any given moment, so when Mike Harris came in, he dismantled the Anti-Racism Secretariat that you mentioned. I'm hoping that, and we've heard from the public around, you know, embed it in legislation, so that’s one possibility through regulation, through a commitment, a long-term vision, a commitment by government, but the simple truth is as much as, as many layers as you want to apply to it and coats of protection, the simple truth is a government can come in, and if it’s not part of their mandate, they can dismantle it. That’s the truth. The same way you could dismantle, you know, the Child Advocate, any officer within the legislature, the Ombudsman. Those things are protected through legislation, so there would have to be some type of public debate. You would have to go through Committee.

But what we're here to do -- and sustainability is one of those pillars. To build an organization that is protected, that does have some life to it, long-term life, and to take into account the experiences from years ago with the Secretariat and how the government came through and dismantled overnight. We don't want that to happen. We're put ago lot of time and energy into this. We've got a lot of people working on this. We want to make sure that it’s built to withstand the change of government. So that’s one of the goals. And I understand the frustration, because like I said from the beginning, this is a conversation, racism and ideas and reports year after year. We've seen different things, but our government, you know, we've worked on the carding piece, the police check piece, which is mandated to cake into effect January 1st. This is mandated. We have, you know -- we've changed -- we set up the Anti-Racism Directorate and we hope to start to collect data. I've asked Children’s Aid Societies, I've let them know that we've been mandating them to collect data. There’s change that’s happening, but it’s so frustrating, because people have been fighting for this change for decades, and here we are now having the same conversation, you know, years and years and years of these initial conversations, as early as the 1960s there have been lines in race relations. 41 years ago, we're having the exact same conversation as people are having today. So I understand the frustration, it is a challenging subject matter to talk about here in Ontario. But thank you for your work on this matter.

>> Ginelle: Okay. Thank you. We're going here. Yes?

Audience Member: >> (name and identifying information removed) I want to say to the brother, your point is very well made. He and I are probably around the same life seniority, so we've been working on this for about 40 years. And the community knows absolutely that any government {} can change it. We saw what Mike Harris did. But there are things that we can do to protect it. I remember there are people in this room I worked with around the Employment Equity Act, and not only did Harris repeal that Act. He ordered everything to be destroyed. So one of the things that the Directorate can do is make your data public so people can download it.


Audience Member: The other thing about structural change, it takes time. It takes work. I'm a lesbian, and you know, ever since I was 14, 15 years old, I've been working on gay and lesbian and now trans rights. And it takes a lot of time and I've seen a lot of change, but I know that change has come about through a lot of sweat and tears and a lot of support from allies. It didn't happen overnight. And this structural change won't happen, but what we have to ensure is that the progress that we do make we don't fall back, because that’s what happened in the last 50 years in this province.

So one of the concerns that’s been raised is, quite frankly, no one believes that $5 million, a budget, is going to provide you with that financial tool to do the deep change that needs to happen: Public education, not only the data collection, working within your own ministries and reaching out to agencies. $5 million, I mean, personally, I wouldn't mind if I won the lottery at that amount, but it’s not going to work for the Directorate.

Now, if you look at some of the other government directorates, for instance, the Women’s Directorate has a budget about $23 million a year. The Accessibility Directorate has a budget of about $15 million. The Ontario Senior Secretariat has almost $20 million. And then the Francophone Affairs Office has about $5 million as well. So don't shortchange us and don't shortchange yourself on this work. It can't be done on nickels and dimes. It has to be shown. And you need that to do the work.

The other points, the last point I want to make is I know the Colour of Poverty has submitted a proposal around legislation, and absolutely any government can repeal legislation, but I've been around for a long time and I do know it’s a lot easier to starve something, an organization to death by simply reducing the budget. But if you've got a piece of legislation, it’s a lot more public when you're getting rid of it, so that is what I would recommend some of the areas to look at. Thank you.


>> Ginelle: Thank you very much. Thank you. Over here, please. Go ahead.

>> Audience Member: Good evening. She touched on my point that I was going to bring up, the Colour of Change, the Colour of Poverty. They put forward a draft legislation in regards to helping to build legislation and a strategy for the Anti-Racism Directorate. I'm curious to know if you or your ministry has responded to the Colour of Change or the organizations that put this legislation forward or if it would be considered by your Minister, by the Directorate to be a framework or a legislation for the Anti-Racism Directorate.

I am also curious to know with regards to the staff that are going to be hired for the Anti-Racism Directorate, who are the persons that are going to be part of the selection Committee? Is it made up of community leaders that have shown a proven track record over time, that is selected by the community to also be in place at a decision-making table to select the persons? Who are the experts you are looking for?

>>Minister: I'll answer the question. The Colour of Poverty’s document that they've submitted, we have the document. It’s actually a very good document. Everything is considered. Have you actually read the document? Have you looked at it? So you know it’s a very well-crafted piece of proposed legislation. We'll take elements, if we move in the direction of legislation, and what you're doing is really having a conversation about, you know, which direction should we move in? But that piece, the idea is something that we would bring into the mix when making a decision about what that legislation would look like.

In addition to that, the second piece around hiring, we are hiring a majority of people from the public, not from the public sector, and that process, you know, for hiring is going to be done by the Assistant Deputy Minister and assuming a couple of his colleagues, and it’s just like any other public job that’s out there. So it will be done through the public service.

>>Audience Member: I would recommend that you consider moving in the path of legislation and also to ask that you consider using experts that are selected by our community and that decision makers are at the table from our community.


>>Ginelle: Thank you very much.

>>Ginelle: Go ahead, sir.

>> Audience Member: Thank you. (name removed). First I would like to start with a positive, not a negative. The first thing is glad today, because we are talking about anti-racism. As Canadians, we were in denial, because we have been using multiculturalism, diversity, cultural sensitivity for years. It doesn't do any justice to the population you mentioned. They are Indigenous, Black, or Islamophobia.


Audience Member: So I'm glad the word comes [indiscernible] here, so the word anti-racism comes, is a good start to me. The first thing is on paper it looks like nice. I agree on everything there. The problem is it is still fragmented. I think what we need is a more comprehensive plan. Not a fragmented plan. A comprehensive plan that doesn't touch the University is not a government plan to me. We can agree to start with it should be a societal problem, not a government responsibility. Where we start I think in tackling systemic racism, I think we start within your government. I think that is my side issue.

Before the government tells the people and other institutions what to do, the government has to start [indiscernible] and to be a model for others. I think that is a good start to me.

The other think is the problem is well-documented. My favorite book is Racism [indiscernible] Second Century Canada. I don't know whether they are now writing, racism in the 22nd century in Canada. That is my dilemma about it. So my question to you is do we have a political will or is this still tokenism?


>>Minister: I think the fact that, you know, we're out here having the conversation, the fact that, you know, we've built a Directorate, the fact that we've acknowledged systemic racism exists, the fact that Anti-Black Racism is real in Canada, Islamophobia is increasing, you know, for years we've known the data around, you know, the over-representation of racialized communities in corrections. You know, in Toronto I was talking about the fact that, you know, the failure rate when it came to Black boys was much higher than the average. These things are out there. This is conversation that’s normal, within government now. This type of conversation would not have happened 15 years ago, 10 years ago in government, and it’s happening now. You know, the fact that the government recognizes that carding is something that needs to stop. The fact that Children Aid Societies need to be held accountable. I think there’s political will, and you know, I think if you look at our government, Yasir Naqvi is the Attorney General, immigrant from Pakistan; Mitzi Hunter, Minister of Education; myself and many others represent many of the same people sitting here in the room. I think there’s a will and there’s a desire to make change to make Ontario and make government accountable back to the people of Ontario, and I think there’s will and that’s why we're here having this conversation. Thank you for your comments.

>> Ginelle: Thanks very much.


>> Ginelle: We have -- yes. We're going over here to the wall.

>>Audience Member : (name removed) I'm part of a private union. I'm very happy to see that we're having this town hall meeting, but as one gentleman mentioned before concerning how long ago that things like this has been done and nothing was done about it, I think that we need to start having action. I think this is why we are out here this evening, because we need to see action. And thanks to the Minister, but for short-term, as I heard my sister said, we actually need things that need to be done. For short-term, we can at least launch specific public education and awareness campaign around Anti-Indigenous, Anti-Black, and systemic. Establish an anti-racism adviser, compared with the community labor representation, and also consult with the racialized communities. Long-term we can create an Anti-Harassment Committee with the following in mind. Consult with racialized communities, which I think that that’s what we need. This is great, but going into all the different -- going across the country, I think that we need to at least have the conversation with the racialized and Anti-Black community, because I believe that if this was for the racialized, this room would have been packed where you could be at least say the issues that we're having and the issues that we are facing.

So I think that we should really focus on creating community and racialized workers to strive through the following government action. Make it easy for workers to join a union. Raise employment standards. Invest in social program. And increase the minimum wage. Thank you.[Applause]

>> Ginelle: Okay. Over here, please.

>> Audience Member: (name and identifying information removed) and I have several of my sisters present here tonight. Thank you for everyone who could come here, [sic ]. Before I share, I actually have a systemic issue that I would like to bring to the Minister’s attention and Directorate’s attention. But before that, I want to say this. It is like a disclaimer. So as a person who came here as an immigrant, as an adult person, and as a person who is optimist by nature and who has been taught, who grew up with counting your blessings, not what’s not good in your life, it is a very difficult conversation to have when I see myself privileged in many ways to talk about racism or talk about discrimination or anything like this. If I start counting my blessings, those blessings would always tell me not to worry about something which is small. You already have a lot in life. This is something that keeps people from engaging in this conversation.

The other thing that stops people like me engaging in this conversation is a fear, fear of backlash, but it’s bigger. It’s also losing credibility. It’s also losing friendships. It’s also losing -- there is a lot to lose when you stand up in a community meeting like this and talk about a challenging issue like this. So with this disclaimer, I wanted to bring your attention to something which is very specific to Muslim women, and it’s the chronic under employment and unemployment of Canadian Muslim women.

So first of all, in terms of evidence, you would see only surface level work in terms of what is the employment or under-employment levels in the Canadian Muslim women’s community? There was some work done by Canadian Council of Women and it was almost about 10 years ago, and they talked about these three strikes about Canadian Muslim women. So first thing for a woman like me, I'm a woman, so every woman in this hall right now can think about all the barriers that they face as women and I'm with you, sister.

The second strike against me is my visible minority status. I am a person of colour, so that anybody who is here who is a person of colour, I'm with you, sisters and brothers, so anything that faces you in employment, in housing, in everywhere, I'm right there with you, and then the third strike against me is my religion. And even more when it’s so visible, when I wear it every day on my head and I go out. So all of my Muslim brothers and sisters here who are visibly Muslims and are not visibly Muslim, I'm with you every day. I face everything that you face. So when we talk about the under-employment and unemployment of Canadian Muslim women, I can guarantee you, we can fill this room more than that from Kitchener Waterloo with women who have not only 1 degree, one post-secondary degree. Who have two and 3 degrees from their countries of origin and from here, Canada, and they're struggling to find employment, and it’s not because they're not capable. It’s not because they are not necessarily employment opportunities. It’s because they have a lot of things against them. And now I'm going to be really focusing on an example that would make it clear what I'm trying to say.

So I'm a social worker by profession. What started to happen about 10 years ago in this community was a lot of immigrant women and a lot of women like me, Muslim women, started to go to social work as a profession. Now, in this community, 10 years from there, we have several immigrant women, immigrant men as scholars, because today I'm focusing on Muslim women. A lot of Muslim women who have graduated from a Master’s of Social Work program, they are not employed or they're really underemployed. The reason is because the system, the not-for-profit sector thinks that a person like me is only good to work with immigrants.


Audience Member: So if there’s a project, if there is an agency where there’s a project there’s a centre where there is the large population in that neighbourhood is immigrant, I would be considered as a legitimate candidate. However, I've gone to the same school. I have invested the same time, same energy. Everything in the school as everybody else. So I hate to be considered only for a job that is there to serve immigrants only. Not that I wouldn't like to serve immigrants. That’s not the reason. The reason is I can offer a lot more than that to the Canadian society. So again, going back to the actual challenge, we have tons and tons of very qualified Canadian Muslim women with more than 1 degree, degrees from here from this community who are still looking for work and are not able to find work and some of them are here tonight. Others are not here tonight. Thank you.

>> Ginelle: Thank you very much for sharing your comments.


>> Ginelle: Let’s go to this mic over here. Step right up.

>> Audience Member: Good Evening. (name and identifying information removed)and I'm here to speak as an individual. Before I begin to share my thoughts, I do want to acknowledge the traditional territory I stand on, the neutral Anishinaabe and [indiscernible] peoples. I also acknowledge my brown skin being lighter and me being here as a settler. So how do we tackle racism? I guess that’s why we're here to consult, aren't we?

I wanted to address question one, but more so by sharing a story that some of you may have heard or read locally. So a few years back, a private organization wished to put up statues of former Canadian prime ministers out in Victoria park, which isn't too far from here. [The same Canadian prime ministers who perhaps were the pioneers of systemic racism in Canada and thereby affecting Ontario. Operating through an oppressive lens, these Prime Ministers, notably our first prime minister, sir Johnny MacDonald. I'm not sure how much of a [indiscernible] he was considering he spent most of his days being drunk; could take this out as could be seen as being overly critical; however it was said at the meeting; recommend leave in].

A prime minister who was widely celebrated for nation building, shaping Canada to be what it is today. We even built a high school named after him not too long ago in Waterloo. So we have to believe this Prime Minister was [indiscernible] serving Indigenous people back in the day to get projects through, creating [], not clear] (suggest deleting this section as may be seen as offensive) So fast forward to today or a few years back. The City of Kitchener decided to consult the public through an online survey to see if the statue project was a viable one. About 79% of the citizens or who went online people said no, and the plan never went forward at Victoria Park. Some of the comments around that time were this is pointless and indulgent and the world doesn't need more statues of dead rich lawyers.

After hearing no response from the City, the statue project decided to take its [indiscernible] without consultation from the Indigenous community and the officials decided to give a go ahead and a statue of Johnny MacDonald was erected. People spoke up, the petition circulated and the project was nixed. It didn't stop there, the fine folks of Baden Township decided to have the project take place at Castle Killbright in Dayton.

A recent article in our local newspaper has our own Mr. Mary, Mr. Verbanic, holding for a photo op, along with the other elected officials. You know, the statue project states they wish to have more interactive pieces to it, which each statue will highlight the contributions of each prime minister and share their history. I'm not okay with that. How do I, as a local citizen feel, when elected officials and our Mayor and former mayors are invited to celebrate Sir Johnny MacDonald and his supposed legacy? What message does that send the Indigenous community locally and national and how do we tackle racism [indiscernible] when day trips begin visiting these statues and learning about Sir Johnny MacDonald. How do they learn about the true history versus the selective one if they go visit Baden for a family trip one day? It certainly doesn't help when we have local leaders who, by supporting such projects, perpetuate the systemic racism already in place.

I think it’s time we started speaking about history. Ours is a nation built on racist policies. This needs to be a part of what’s taught daily in classrooms across the province. We need to start acknowledging our history and not pretend. That’s where I feel it begins. A deeper acknowledgment of our history begins. Canada, if not Ontario, does not need more statue projects. Thank you.


>> Ginelle: Thank you very much. And we're going to the mic over here.

>> Audience Member: Hello, everybody. (name removed). When we're talking about collecting data, we had an experience. I was coordinating a small project for the coalition of [indiscernible] and it was a project that would be collected, hate incidents and hate crimes. And one of the findings of our project was a very small volunteer run project, but our planning was that when the focus was [indiscernible] the finding was that Muslim women and, you know, I would extend it to other immigrant women, were not comfortable reporting the incidents, even though we many times, we knew that an incident has taken place, but despite encouragement from us, they were not willing to report that incident. So you know, we talked about the need for education and awareness and that is very critical within the communities, marginalized communities. And that education, one piece of it would come from just using the terms, you know, that the Minister -- it’s really, you know, encouraging to hear the term Islamophobia mentioned by a Minister. And it’s been 15 years that this has been going on. Islamophobia is there. But within the local communities, eggs have been thrown. Hijabs have been pulled. Spitting is there. Prejudice and harassment is there, you know, more frequently. So I would really encourage our officials, council members, our leaders to at least start using the term, acknowledge that it exists and obviously then, you know, systemic issues will need to be taken care of, too. Thank you.

>>Ginelle: Thank you so much. Thank you.


>> Audience Member: I can relate to you. I was born in Canada, but I went to Zambia for my beginning years. I came back to grade eight and my dad would make my lunch and he only gave me peanut butter and jam sandwiches. And he went on strike if we complained and he said, you have to make your own sandwiches. And he put the lunch in a milk bag. How embarrassing. But praise the Lord he was the first for recycling. Not the first. I'm here to tell about (name and identifying information deleted). You know what? He would come to our house and this grocery store in my neighbourhood was open four hours a week. If we didn't have food, we had to go to our neighbours if we ran out of sugar, because the grocery store wasn't open and the closest grocery store that was open was an hour’s drive away. (name removed) would come and he would look at our garbage can. He would raid our garbage can, and we didn't have anything to throw away in remember Zambia, but he would raid our garbage can and he would find the vegetable cans and he felt take those vegetable conditions and go to the mud hut village where he was, and he would sell them to use for cups for drinking water. And you know what he did with that money? He sent his children, his grandchildren to school because he was a man that was empowered and was smart and a businessman that could change the world and I thank God that he modeled for this Canadian Christian way back in the Seventies. Praise God for our different ethnic groups. You know what? It’s not just Muslims that have problems. My sister was in New York City on September 11th, 2001, and she was taking care of 20,000 children who were not affected by the planes flying into the towers. And you know what happened to her when she was doing that? She was egged. I'm from the Salvation Army. Do you know when the Salvation Army first came to Kitchener and Waterloo, they were thrown into prison for disturbing the peace. They had bonnets to protect from the eggs that were thrown at them. You know what? Sometimes it takes faith and it takes God to do the right thing, , (identifying information removed ) when I was born, he was at the edge of the baby boomers. And he was going to be the (identifying information removed). He had every opportunity open to him because he was a man and he was at the edge of the baby boomers. And God said to him, you need to go and be a minister. And he said, no, I don't want to do it. I want to teach. And he argued with God and God said to him, you need to be a minister, and so God sent him to the Salvation Army training college in Toronto, a professional man who was called and was given the opportunity, actually tried to take the position of leadership in the education school system and he went to the Salvation Army training college in Toronto. And you know what they made him do? They treated him like a prisoner. He had to sign out every time this adult with two children left the college. He had to sign out and tell them where he was going. Well, he’s not that stupid. He said he was going to rob a bank. I think he got called on the carpet for that a few weeks later, but who knows? But you know the other thing they made him do? He had to do chores. Can you believe it? (identifying information removed) had to do chores. And worse and worse and worse, he had to clean the toilets. And you know what happened to him? He went over to Zambia where the Chief said to the Salvation Army, come and build a high school for us. Come and bring teachers for us so that we can educate our people. And they built a boarding school, and guess what happened? The students had to do chores. But there are teenagers and there are high school students. They don't do stores. They're educated people and my father said, now I know why the Salvation Army trained me to clean toilets, and he modeled cleaning toilets for those students.

>> Ginelle: Excuse me.

>>Audience Member And I need to cut it off, I realize, but I am here to say I don't have a job either as a Christian. Let’s work on unemployment.

>> Ginelle: Thank you for your comments.


>>Ginelle: I want people to get to the end of their story. I don't want to interrupt. I want to be mindful of time so that we can hear from everyone. Thank you so much. Go ahead.

>>Audience Member: First of all, thank you for your efforts thus far and for being here tonight. I'm going to try and address your first question there, but I want to preface is by saying that I think you require a two-pronged approach. One, you need to deal with the Indigenous issues separately from the rest of us I won't speak to that, because I haven't thought that much over yet. I also -- sorry. I lost my train of thought.

>> Ginelle: You were saying you need to deal with the Indigenous issues differently to the rest of us?

>> Audience Member: Yes, because I believe the framework we have in place so far is not working for them and it can be much improved on. I would say some of the solutions I propose would be outside of the scope of the Directorate, but I'm going to talk about them anyway, so you mentioned earlier that there are major economic factors in play here and I do think that that is the most important part of systemic racism here in our country and the jobs that we have available for new immigrants and some of the programs we have in place, you know, for temporary foreign workers, things like that, and the way that a lot of these corporations go about selecting people for positions, it may be outside of what can be regulated by the government, but these are definitely issues that trickle down into individual racism and I think that’s where the importance over looking at systemic racism comes into play in how it does trickle down into how we treat each other as individuals. So I think that what really needs to be examined is our welfare systems and our social assistance programs, whether they are functioning properly, whether they are robust enough, whether there are alternatives to those. You hear about basic income pilots all the time, whether they're viable, whether they're not. I don’t deny, these are very ambitious propositions, but I think that the economic state of the working class and the lower middle-class, I think that is where the focus of the Directorate needs to be

>>Ginelle: I’m going to have to ask you to wrap up so we can hear from someone else.

>> Audience Member: No problem.

>> Ginelle: Thank you.


>>Ginelle: Next.

>>Audience Member: Three things. First I agree that Indigenous issues have been tackled in a different way given the history that they have here as the First Peoples who were here, and the Colonial history that they share with the immigrants, which is all the rest of us. And not to be treated separately. Not totally separately, but in a more nuanced way a different way than with the issues of the visible minorities here who are marginalized.

Secondly, I would advocate for a holistic approach to solving the racism problem in Canada. The Directorate cannot solve racism in countries as huge as this one, because it’s only one part of the government. What it can do is provide recommendations and endorse those recommendations for all of the other parts of government, whether it’s environmental or the justice system or our process of electing representatives or anything else. Racism is present wherever people are present and you shouldn't be expecting the Directorate to solely handle this responsibility. It should be a government-wide issue. And it should be a business wide issue as well supported by the government officially. And my third thing, I bring my own experience as a cancer survivor to illustrate how we might raise the issue of racism. Now, there was a time, I wasn't alive then. Maybe I was. I don't remember. But there was a time when the word cancer was not allowed to be said in public. Like I remember seeing a photo of an old ad in a newspaper for a breast cancer support group and instead of saying breast cancer said it’s a support group for afflictions of the chest. Now, you tell me what that means. Does anybody know what that means? And the same thing is present here. When you hear multiculturalism, some people hear a celebration of all the different cultures. Other people hear fetishizing an exotic culture that comes from somewhere else, not here, and maybe they hear lumping in Indigenous culture with all. Other cultures that didn't come from here. So I would advocate for using strictly accurate language to describe the problem. In my case, you have this type of cancer. This is the cost and benefit. In the case of racism, it would be Canada has a racism problem. We need a specific anti-racism effort and these are the resources we need to do it and these are the areas it’s going to affect.

I would also say that a major force in creating public discussion and public awareness of racism as an issue is the dissemination of individual stories. With cancer, you know, you can search on YouTube. Just search cancer stories and you will come up with individual interviews or stories or fundraisers or benefits or anything else where people are telling their story, saying this is what happened to me. You need to listen to me. And telling it on their own terms.

Even still, people try to dictate what a survivor should feel, what they should think of themselves, what their role should be, what their life story should be in the context of having cancer. And the same is true for racism. So I think -- I'm going to wrap it up. Sorry. I went on a bit long. I think that’s by just having YouTube channel. Ask people to upload their stories and publicize that officially as a government initiative so people actually know what’s going on.

>> Ginelle: Thank you very much.


>> Ginelle: Okay. I'm conscious of the time now and looking at the lineup, and I think we should call the end of the line here as the last comments that we're going to hear for the evening. So I'm going to ask you to try and keep your comments, get straight to the point of what you need to talk about and keep your comments as brief as possible. So we'll go over to this mic and keep going.

>> Audience Member: Hi. I'm just wondering how you guys are going to address systemic racism, especially across different governments. Somebody said earlier they were trying to be like apolitical, but like the conservative party, they tried to ban the niqab and recently they had this lady called Kelly Lich and they wanted to survey new immigrants for Canadian values. A couple years ago Quebec tried to implement a charter of whatever, I don't know, Quebec values, I'm just saying, like, this is considered appropriate ideology, but it’s also racist, so how are you going to address anti-racism when racism is also, like, totally okay? You see it like in the rise of right wing parties returned the world in Canada also.

Ginelle: Thank you for your --

Ginelle: >> Thank you for your comment. Go ahead, sir.

Audience Member: >> Good evening. Identifying information removed). Good to have you here Honourable Minister. My job I guess is different from everybody here. I travel the world. I travel from Japan to China to Malaysia. I had dinner with the King of Malaysia and I had lunch at one of the villages in China sitting right on the floor in the cold weather. And I can tell you that if all of you look at each other right to left, we live in the best country in the world.


>> Audience Member: This is the best country in the world. With all the problems we have, this is the best country in the world, and if Canada opens immigration tomorrow, millions of people would come. They do have an issue with racism. I don't want to take a long time. I just want to make a comment on number three, how the government can help people better understand systematic racism and where should we start? As a Minister, as a Member of Parliament, your government this past year passed a law to teach kids sex from Grade one or grade two or grade three. I don't know. My kids are old. 27 and -- it doesn't make me that old. But can you enforce it? Can you put it as part of curriculum? Then what the other gentleman was saying, maybe the next government would change and then a government would scrap it, because we need to educate people right from the beginning.

What we have seen, what the Muslim women, all the Blacks, what everybody has, we're going to live with it, whether the Italian had the sandwich, and by the way, that was a beautiful sandwich, where the Italian has a sandwich or the Chinese has a fish or any other food, we'll still have it. It’s in us. Let’s not kid ourselves. How do we get it out? We get it out through education, and the education has to start from Grade one, not when the person reaches the age of already being built in their system, thank you very much.


>>Ginelle: Thank you. Go ahead.

>> Audience Member: Hi there. –(suggest remove as not clear).My Elders have taught me to always start from a place of gratitude. I do have two comments. One, I'd like to say thank you to Black Lives Matter, all of the different chapters that exist, because they remind us that Anti-Black racism is real and they keep us honest. I'd also like to say thank you for the Indigenous allies that have always stood by them and vice versa, because over the course of the last little bit, we have seen a lot of big discussions and had that ally-ship not been there, I don't think we'd be where we are now. And I'd also like to say actually congratulations to the Anti-Racism Directorate. I was at the first meeting in Toronto and I know that it was to be open and have people’s feedback. What I do appreciate is that six sessions in, we're seeing the development of something, and I do hope that the transcripts or videos get released so that the public sees that transparency. I want to believe that this is what we want, and so that would be lovely.

Two comments. One in terms of strategy. I wonder if there’s a way of considering plugging community organizations into the Directorate or into the anti-racism work? Not even the Directorate. What we know is that on the ground, those that do anti-racism work and anti-oppression work are often underfunded and have to fight each other to keep the work going. So if there’s a way of ensuring that fund is going to provide today these experts that are on the ground and that that expertise is plugged into the Directorate, should a new leadership group come in, that way they know on the ground that people are doing the work, so that’s a strategic thing. And finally, a question. I always wonder what happens if folks don't comply. So I'm going to reintroduce myself. (name and identifying information removed) One of the things I carry in my office is employment diversity when I speak to people about employment equity and I the need for change, often people are hesitant to mandate the change. But the reality with structural racism is that it was mandated racism that has landed us in this position. So I don't know how we can change it if we don't mandate the change. What that looks like I can't guarantee, but there’s part of me that would prefer to give that a try than to just talk and assume that people will just carry about hearing my stories of trauma and pain. Thank you.


>>Ginelle: Can we go to this mic over here, please?

>> Ginelle: Hi. (name removed)I wish to ask a question revolving around number three. How can the government help people to better understand systemic racism? Where can we start? I can only speak from my own perspective. Euro descent, Canadian descent, someone who lives with white privilege in the society. I think I can only say from people in my friends, my family members, community members who have the same heritage as me, people who are white, I think what we need -- we need a language for white privilege, and I don't know that understanding systemic racism is possible without seeing that understanding of, you know, our power, the circles of how people experience hurts. I know I have a drop of Catholic background. Our dinner table has stories that go back five generations of what we experienced as Irish, you know? And these are things we really carry in our bones, and there’s been a lot of work in the Irish communities particularly around how that has become a huge barrier for people with that heritage to accept racism and to accept their place in racism and to accept our privilege and what we can do with our privilege and how we can challenge it, how we can change it. And I know when I try to have those conversations in those circles, everybody can pretty much agree with what hatred looks like. People know what -- maybe they don't know, but they know what meanness is, what hatred is, but they don't know what their own privilege looks like. We don't know. And that’s something I would like to see the government model. I would like to see people of every racial background having input on that. I would like to see White people of every diversity, of sexual diversity, of religious diversity, taking place as part of that conversation. Thank you.


>> Ginelle: Thank you. Go ahead. Step right up.

>> Audience Member: Hello. (name removed) and I do some local activism here that I got involved in that has looked at anti-black racism, so that’s a thing to say here. We couldn't use the word anti-Black racism when I started doing this work. And even the word African was radical, I was told. So that’s a gratitude thing for me in terms of bringing this language into that particular community. So I would first want to mention about the particularities of communities and how this is taking place across a province, if there could be some sensitivity to that, because I think there is specific challenges. Often we're told things are not as bad here as they are in Toronto, and we are thankful that we're not experiencing some of the particular expressions of pain that our communities are facing, and in some ways, things are worse here than they are in Toronto in terms of safe spaces. It’s far from me to hear people who are in this practice or in social work who do have to deal with fear and have more experiences and power than I do, so I think one of the things I'm interested in is the work of creating safe spaces around this language of oppression, of people’s experiences. And I don't know if there could be some kind of -- because I think in the grassroots, people have been doing that work and it’s very hard to do it from the grassroots, and yes, gratitude of Black Lives Matter and Indigenous activists that have brought us to this moment, but I think that in terms of engaging our leaders and our communities and the people who serve us who have not been educated about all of this, having something with maybe the government backup in terms of those spaces of how we can assess systems, there was a piece of research that came out looking at the experiences of, you know, Black people, the Black community was experiencing at higher rates, police stops, and having to see in the newspaper later on that the police system is not -- there is no racism in it. Spoke to me about the lack of education around the systemic racism piece. I appreciate that you're going to be doing more education around that, but it’s not about individuals. It’s systemic.

But I want to acknowledge that folks have had to, young people especially, younger than myself, do this education to folks who are earning well, and I want to say that that’s a reality that has expression, impoverishing expressions in terms of people who take up that work, that Black Lives Matter, that individuals that take up that work experience trauma and impoverishment as a result of that work. So please think about that when you look at resourcing. But yeah, I stand on the shoulders of the people who are younger than myself, who have brought us to this moment and struggled to come to this moment. So lots of gratitude and keep the work going.


>> Ginelle: Thank you. Go ahead, sir.

>> Audience Member: My name is [indiscernible] and I'm a community member. I would like to address point number three, and I think point number three goes hand in hand with the focus on number two. That is education and awareness. And I think that is very important, because if we [indiscernible] people, definitely we can create or we can come up with the change we would like. I'm going to tell a story about that. I remember one day, my daughter,. She just screamed in her room, midnight, at midnight. So my wife and I rushed to her room and we tried to know what was going on. Was it just a nightmare? It was a nightmare. And it was a nightmare about racism or a racist notion.

She mentioned that one kid who was there at the daycare said to her that all Black people are bad. That is a kid. That is a child. Definitely there was an adult or someone who else told him that or he heard that from him. That child should not be blamed and the parents or adult should not be blamed. But the system, because there was no system of education from the beginning to educate the people, to let them know that all people were born equal and that should also come out of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that governs our country and should come also from the declaration of the U.N. Human Rights. All people are equal.

The other thing is the awareness, and also, you know, our officials to step up, to talk about and for them not to be shy of talking about racism. In this way, they have themselves model and as good examples to the other, to behave the same way they behaved, and to act the same way they act. And this is going to give, you know, clap to our Chief of the Police, you know? (identifying name removed), when he came up to his board and questioned his officers, why the Black people are carded more than the other groups in this community? Yeah, I think that is the role model that is the type of responsibility we want to see at all levels in order to make the systemic change that we are talking about and that we have been talking about for decades.

Also, teaching the history of this country is part of that change. Thank you so much.


>> Audience Member: Good Evening. (name removed). I want to start my acknowledging thanks to my Elders of the mutual Anishinaabe Elders for third stewardship of this land over the ages. I also want to acknowledge that I would consider myself to be an otherwise confident young-ish man, but I suddenly feel very unconfident and very insecure about even standing up here. And I feel like I have a lot to lose and I don't know why that is. I'm sorry. And I don't know why I'm sorry. But I want to draw attention as a recommendation perhaps to something that might be a lever to support the development of this type of an initiative, and it’s a lever that’s often used to help in the design of very successful and useful and meaningful programs, products, and services, but not often by the public sector, and that is the role of empathy as a lever and the role that that lever can play in leadership. And you know, there are leaders in this room that effectively use empathy to serve their constituents, and they use that in the absence of legislation. They use that in the absence of resources. And sometimes despite their position, they use that in the absence of any real power, but they use it at their expense, and I wonder if there might be a role for empathy in leadership development within our public service, within our public sector within the rungs of leadership within our government, within our schools, and within our healthcare system to help me feel less insecure when otherwise I feel very secure. Thank you.


>> Audience Member: Hi. (name removed)I've done youth and student organizing for several years. So I have a few things. But, I think a fifth box needs to be created on key areas on oversight, because a lot of work you're talking about is dealing with systemic racism. Without oversight of the government who obviously has systemic racism, is embedded in those institutions, and we can't really solve any of the issues that we want to solve. The second one is inter-sectionality, not treating Indigenous peoples, Muslims, black folks, in silos or as massive groups of people. There was a lot of inter-sectionality in those areas. I'm going to talk about Muslim folks that identify as Muslim. There’s some Muslims who experience racism different than [indiscernible] queer Muslims than trans and nonbinary Muslims. All of these groups exist. Most of them we don't talk about. Right? It’s important in all of the groups that we're trying to engage with that we actually talk about inter-sectionality and engage with the most marginalized people. I missed the first half of this meeting due to busing issues, but I hadn't heard anyone talk about how trans folks or nonbinary folks experience systemic racism.

In terms of recommendations, mental health systems are super important to look at. The Ontario government funds a variety of different groups, including Good to Talk, which is a phone line, but even at the University level, when we see how racialized students are dealing with mental health and engagement of mental health, it’s very problematic, because there aren't people who understand their experiences when dealing with systemic racism and they end up having to teach their counselors for as long as they try and engage with counselors about systemic racism; having to relive trauma is super problematic and that should be a priority for folks.

In terms of, again, oversight for the government, one of the recommendations I would make is actually looking at oversight for not only OPS staff, but also political staff. When Black Lives Matter was doing the work that actually brought us here, there was a lot of tweets and a lot of things posted from a variety of political staffers from various different parties that could be seen and probably can directly be just called racist. And so addressing not only those in that context, but in all the different contexts where we see these kind of tweets from not only an MP and his MPPs, but also I know the focus is on Ontario, but also in terms of actual staff and politicians is super important.

Finally, in terms of youth, part of the problem that I'm seeing is that we need to have collaboration between folks at all different levels. So it’s important that you see, for example, like our youth ambassadors that are here, you have youth in leadership roles in these roles. So for example, the staff that you're hiring, prioritizing, having at least a few folks who are youth and can engage youth, but also engaging with an analysis that might be a little bit different from folks who have done work at different times. So having a wider array of analysis is super important. Generally, folks who have a very high analysis, who are very critical can tone that down for folks who need it, you know? It’s not about shaming people about their things that they do that are racist, because we all make mistakes. It is important that folks involved in the Anti-Racism Directorate actually have the analysis to be able to tackle these issues directly. If they don't have the analysis, then we're not going to see the change we want to see. Thank you.

>> Ginelle: Thank you.


 >> Ginelle: Thank you very much. Okay. I think this is our last speaker? Yes.

>> Audience Member: First of all, thank you for the opportunity. Thank you to everyone being here tonight. I have stood up a few times, but my points were mentioned, so I'm going to keep it short to sum it up. In my line of work, I have learned about racism a lot more than I thought I knew, before I come to Canada. But let me tell you one thing. When it was a child, my grandma used to tell me always that we are the first civilization on earth, and I am originally Kurdish. I am from northern Iraq. I am sure most of you have heard the news in Kirkuk. I am from Kirkuk for generations and generations and generations. Our ancestors are from Kirkuk. I see the result of racism and what it does. That is the future of racism.

I thought it is important to bring it up for all here, because when I was a child in Kirkuk, on the same street we have members that were Turk and Arabic and Kurdish. We had a Syrian. We had Christians. We had Muslims. And we actually, one of my uncles, he is a Muslim guy. He is married a Christian lady. In my family, within my own family, it’s so multicultural, based on the Canadian definition of multiculturalism; they're all politically having different ideas and different beliefs. However, because there was no issue with racism, we grew up all going to the same schools, playing with each other. We were best friends. Up until we realized that what was keeping us together at a certain point was the law. What was keeping some of the people, not everyone, some people who were raised to be racist was their fear of being persecuted bylaw. I have one question, first question, I have been here for more than 15 years. I haven't heard of somebody being charged with racism. We never heard a lot of stories. We have heard a lot of issues, but we have never seen on the news or in the Court of law anything done to somebody to tell me that racism is wrong, to tell somebody that racism is wrong. We speak about bullying. Bullying is the start of racism that happened. Actually, one of my first jobs in Canada was teaching young children in school about racism. I started by teaching them about tolerance. And after a few years, my lessons changed from teaching children about tolerance to multiculturalism. Then a little bit identifying what racism was introduced as a curriculum, gain, by me, because I was fearful and I was always cautious what I would say to those children, but believe me when I ended up working with youth and adults, children don't need a lot to be taught about racism. Naturally, they are okay with one another. We raise our children. We teach them how to be a racist, each one of us. Each one of us are very much aware of what our needs are, but if we all look at the mirror and see who we are, we are racist against individually, we will find it inside each one of us. And I think I would challenge everyone in this room on a systemic level, yes, there is a lot of work that needs to be done and we well, as you saw, people are not shy. They want to challenge the government. They have expectations. That needs to be done. Something needs to be done for people who are racist, but at the same time, I would challenge all of us as individuals. It starts from within our households. It starts how we teach our children, because I run away from Kirkuk. I don't want this society to become another Kirkuk.

>> Ginelle: Thank you so much for your comments. Thank you.


>> Ginelle: We're going to turn back to Elder Myeengun and he is going to share some comments with us.

>>Elder: I just wanted to say it was not too long ago I was sitting with a very great Elder. This Elder was seeing her life come to an end. This Elder carried with her the beauty of life, but she also carried with her the pain of racism that she incurred in her 80 years. As we sat and talked and spoke about the future, I looked into her eyes and I told Mom, what I'm going to do for the rest of my life is I'm going to live in life with the struggle to make sure that the next generation don't have to go through what you went through. Your resistance and power that gave me the strength to be who I am today, to stand up in front of people, to say I'm going to fight against racism for the rest of my life. I'm going to teach the children of the next generation to know that that medicine wheel that was given to us meant that we all are well equal, no matter what colour we come from. I asked my mother if I can have what she had, if I can take the pain that she suffered. If I can carry that knowledge and teachings that she so eloquently provided for me. And as she closed her eyes, I knew what my challenge was going to be for the rest of my life, is to teach this generation to walk in that strength that those Elders paved for us.

You know, when I see the strength that we can be together in unity as people, there’s no difference in any religion. There’s no difference in any scenario that stops us from defeating racism in this beautiful world that Creator provided for us. I'd like to ask each and every one of you to look into your own hearts and souls and tomorrow or even tonight take that step that only you can take that says I'm going to build a better world for my children, my grandchildren, and seven generations to come. Because individually, we make that choice. We stand for what our values are, and if we can do that and ask ourselves that the day Creator calls us home, we'll have that beautiful option to go to Creator and say, I fought racism. I fought for equality. I fought for all the things that are necessary for our future generations to live in this beautiful world together. And I think we can say that we did the best we can. Thank you for being here tonight and spending this evening together.


>> Ginelle: Well, Kitchener, so you got off to a slow start, but I think I have more notes than ever before. So I'm going to try and give you an idea of what I heard, what we heard from you tonight. We heard about a question about province-wide disaggregated data. Anti-Black, Islamophobic and Anti-Indigenous, wanted that emphasized. You wanted that we hear that it’s not about inclusion and diversity and all of those things, but to name it as anti-racism was very important.

We heard first about the genocide that’s on going against people in this country and we were invited to educate ourselves about that. About the history of that with the Acadians and Mi'kmaq. We were told to take this message to the First Nation and to guarantee equal protection for all life. We heard stories about incidents that happened right here as recently as this past July. Names being called to people of Indigenous background, and so we're reminded that this is not just an issue that affects newcomers.

Several times you acknowledged that Black Lives Matter and also Indigenous activists were responsible for bringing us to this point in this conversation. And so we heard that. We heard about addressing first the public system, the employees in the OPS, and also the politicians and everyone else representing the government. We heard that we need to look at universities and how professors are tenured, which professors get tenure and so forth, and what role racism may play in that. We heard a little bit about the Colonial -- actually, we heard about it more than once, about the impact of colonization and the trauma that lingers through generations, and people spoke not only about it from the perspective of Canadians of colour, but those also who may not have a physical recognizable difference, but who also have suffered that type of oppression.

We heard that what’s the difference between the Anti-Racism Secretariat, which was so easily dismissed by an incoming government and the work of this Directorate and how can we take steps to preserve that work and to make sure that there’s sustainable impact? The fourth one about sustainable government, how can we make sure? There was suggestion about putting it into legislation and making it visible. We heard that people have been working on this for 40 years or more. And they're very tired. They want to see action at this point. They want to see that this action that takes place is protected. Looking at structural changes that includes talking about lesbian, gay, trans rights, and recognizing the blood, sweat, and tears which went into that work.

$5 million, we heard, is not enough. And some statistics were given about $10, $15, $23 million being put towards similar efforts in government. So more money is needed if we really want to address this. So don't shortchange anti-racism. We heard several speakers mention the Colour of Poverty document and we heard the Minister respond that if the Ministry decides to go in the direction of legislation that this is a very good document that would be considered.

We were condemned we heard condemnation for talking about it and naming it anti-racism. But we also heard that it looks nice on paper. We want to see some action. So action was an ongoing theme. Along with that action was a question about the political will and whether it’s there, and we felt that because of several things that you can see quite visibly and because of the commitment of some of the ministers personally this, that the political will is, in fact, there.

Some of these things were mentioned more than once. We heard that we need to raise the employment standards and raise the minimum wage to ensure that people have access and people have an equal voice. We heard that some people are fearful and intimidated about speaking out on this issue, about backlash, about repercussions, and about fears that they weren't able to really express, but it took courage for them to speak, and so we want to acknowledge that, and I think this is what you'd like us to know and to hear and by the same token, I suppose that it means that some people are not standing up. And so I remind you that you there’s a website that you can go to, to write your comments, because public speaking is not for everyone, but your comments can be recorded still, your input is important, and so if you are able to go online to put that information or fill out one of the cards, you can hand it in at the registration desk tonight before you leave.

We heard about women, persons of colour, and religious persecution all in one person. We also heard another speaker talk about the inter-sectionality that we need to think about and address. So it’s not just one-dimensional, this issue for certain groups of people. We heard that there needs to be an effort to address pre-qualifications that people have when they come to this country or qualifications that they acquire in this country and that they still experience racism and discrimination and barriers to employment.

We heard again about Canadians really looking into their history to understand the roots of systemic racism that we're seeing today. And we heard a little bit about I guess the fear that was expressed around how data collection would be done, how it would be used, and how it would be shared, and I think what we heard is we need to ensure that we share that information publicly so that there is some accountability. We heard that you need to deal with Indigenous issues differently than others. We heard that we also need to look at the selection of people for jobs. How do corporate partners and business partners deal with racism or how is racism impacting hiring practices? Welfare and social assistance programs?

Two more pages left. I just want to make sure we get it all. So we talked also about starting from Grade one, and I heard someone in the audience say kindergarten. I heard you. Starting from kindergarten. Congratulations to the Directorate for the progress made in these meetings. And a question about how can we plug into community-based agencies that have been doing this work so that they can have a voice in it and that the work can be strengthened by experts on the ground.

What happens when folks don't comply? There needs to be a mandate. So again, accountability, a mandate. We heard about white privilege and helping people who live with white privilege understand what that means and how it impacts on this issue. We heard a thank you that we can finally talk about anti-Black racism in different communities and that we need to acknowledge safe spaces and safe places and that the conversation is not the same everywhere in every community, and we need to be mindful of that.

We are reminded that Canada has a responsibility, because of its Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as its role in the U.N. Declaration for Human Rights, and so some of these things can be addressed within that context. We heard kudos for the local Police Chief for confronting the issue of carding and asking questions about that and being a good role model, showing leadership.

And we heard a suggestion that there be a fifth box for oversight added, and we also heard that mental health needs to be linked to systemic racism and youth need to be present, and finally, we heard once again from our Elder that we can do this and that we need to focus on thinking ahead as to what kind of world we are supporting for the next generations to come.

And so having said that, thank you, and I'm going to turn the session back over to Minister Coteau to wrap up.


>> Minister Coteau: I just want to say thank you, Ginelle, for being our moderator tonight. Let’s give her a round of applause. It’s a tough job. Not only is she helping us in this process. She’s the Executive Director of a not-for-profit, Warden Woods. Has a family. A very, very busy person. Thank you for taking time to help us on this journey.

I want to thank our ASL and FSL interpreters. They did great work tonight.


>> Minister Coteau: Great work tonight. Thank you very much. I want to thank your local MPP, MPP Vernile for hosting us tonight. And of course, the ARD, the Anti-Racism Directorate team that’s here that helped organize it. But most of all, let’s give them a big round of applause, because they're learning as we go and they're really, you know, every single meeting there has been major improvements and we're getting better at listening and pulling in information, and most of all, I just want to thank you for taking the time to be here, because you know, like many people have said tonight, it could be a very awkward conversation. It’s a tough conversation. It’s a challenging conversation. But we really did have a good conversation tonight and there were a lot of good points that came forward, and I just want to say thank you for your commitment and we're not perfect, but what we're going to do is pull in everything that we've listened to. Consider it and build a document that will be our strategic plan for the next few years. So thank you very much for your commitment to making Ontario a better place for all of us. And I don't know if anyone noticed, but my brother and my nephews were here tonight. They left, because they have to go to school, but they left about 40 minutes ago, but you know, I'm doing this because I want to make sure that, you know, and they live in this community here. The first thing I did was introduce them to the Chief of Police.


Minister Coteau: Make sure, you know, that I have family here. We're all, like -- it’s important that they live in a community that cares. It’s obvious that this is a community that cares about one another. I want to make sure that my nephew, my girls, my family, you know, people in my community and people in Ontario just have a good place to raise children and that our kids get a fair chance in life. So thank you very much for your commitment and thank you for being here tonight. Thank you.