Advocates for Black, Muslim and Asian Canadians say they are pleased to see action taken in the federal budget to address systemic racism in Canada.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the Liberal government’s budget on Thursday. The budget promises $85 million over four years to the Department of Heritage to launch a new anti-racism strategy and a “national action plan” on combating hate.
“This funding will support community projects that ensure Black and racialized Canadians, as well as religious minorities, have access to resources that support their full participation in the Canadian economy, while raising awareness of issues related to racism and hate. in Canada,” the budget said. document reads.
The budget also pledges $50 million over two years to Employment and Social Development Canada for an initiative to support Black-led and Black-serving community organizations.
“These funds are really needed for organizations that support black communities,” said Gerald Grant, a professor at Carleton University’s business school.
“Supporting Black-led organizations that focus on Black communities will help them deliver these services directly in a way that is culturally sensitive and also reflects the concerns of members of the Black community as a whole,” said he declared.
While it won’t be a huge amount of money once it’s spread across the country, Grant said it’ll be enough to help black businesses get started faster and address the issues they face immediately. .
Money pledged to fight Islamophobia
Mustafa Farooq, CEO of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), said his organization was happy to see a commitment to fight Islamophobia with real funds.
“We certainly advocated for the government to not just talk about fighting Islamophobia, but to put resources into it, to challenge it,” Farooq said.
The budget pledges $5.6 million over five years, including $1.2 million in ongoing support for a new special representative in the fight against Islamophobia, as well as $4 million to the Department of Canadian Heritage to help support the archives of Muslims in Canada.
CNMC is a partner in the archive project, and Farooq said its goal is to tell everyday stories about Muslim Canadians.
Farooq, who lives in Ottawa himself, said it could include stories about the Ottawa Muslim Association, which he says is Canada’s oldest mosque.
“Telling stories about how Canadian Muslims have been here for hundreds of years and the stories they have to provide, I think, is really, really important,” Farooq said.
No specific money to fight anti-Asian racism
Amy Go, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, said she was happy to see money for a new anti-racism strategy, but had hoped to see funds specifically aimed at combating anti-Asian racism.
“As an Asian Canadian, I would like to point out that we would like to see more attention to the growing anti-Asian hatred,” Go said.
“There doesn’t appear to be any specific action or focus on addressing the issues that we still experience a lot as Asian Canadians across the country.”
Go said his organization had been invited to an initial roundtable with the Minister for Inclusion and Diversity and Housing, Ahmed Hussen, and hoped it would be the start of an ongoing conversation rather than a one-off consultation. .