You may have heard that recent events have prompted a lot of questions about the actions of police, and the systemic racism that may be behind the how and why they respond when called to a potential crime scene. Two Guelphites are sponsoring new petitions that will tackle key issues in eliminating racism and reforming policing, and the Member of Parliament for Guelph, Lloyd Longfield, is asking for his constituents to support them.
The first petition is E-2663, which is sponsored by Carolyn Weatherson, and it asks the Government of Canada to ban the practice of carding by police services in Canada. The petition argues that random street checks like carding, and the collection of identifying information by the police, disproportionately impacts Black, racialized, and Indigenous communities, and does not have any practical effect in lowering the crime rate.
Although groups like Amnesty International, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Union have all testified that carding is unlawful and unconstitutional for years, the practice is still in use in many Canadian cities, and has come under renewed scrutiny with the recent protests against police brutality.
You can sign E-2663 any time until August 9.
The second petition, E-2672, was started by Maxwell Parr and it asks for the Federal government to end the militarization of police services, to combat systemic and institutional racism, and to “continue to recognize Canada’s own role in carrying out violence against people of colour and actively encourage other nations to do the same.”
The militarization of police is a particularity big emphasis for the “Defund the Police” movement. In 2018, two researchers from the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg respectively, studied police services in 10 Canadian studies and how they deployed SWAT, or special weapons and tactics units. While SWAT teams are supposed to be an option of last resort, this research showed a 2,100 per cent increase in the number of times SWAT was called to a scene from 1980 to 2016.
You can sign E-2672 any time before October 13.
“There is no place for racism or bias of any kind within police forces or in our society. It is contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Longfield in a statement. “I want to commend Carolyn, Maxwell and the thousands of Canadians who are standing up and using their voices to confront anti-racism and end discrimination.”
If you are interested in signing either petition, or both of them, click on this link and follow the prompts.