TORONTO, August 7, 2003 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation's (CRRF) believes that comments made by the Ontario Minister of Public Safety and Security which suggest that leaders in Toronto's Black community have a "vested interest in seeing this kind of tension continue to exist" is clearly out of line and shows contempt for the Black community.
"To suggest that anyone in the community would condone criminal acts and violent behaviour is not constructive. Then, to go on to suggest that the Black community, specifically, is not doing enough to curb incidences of violence is to shift the locus of responsibility for crime prevention," said the executive director of the CRRF, Dr. Karen Mock. "I think that the comments are irresponsible and unbecoming of a government minister with Mr Runciman's experience."
Minister Runciman's comments came in the wake of Toronto Police Service Chief, Julian Fantino's news conference in which Mr. Fantino called for additional resources to police certain areas of Toronto, including the use of surveillance cameras. The Foundation believes that all communities, including members of the Black community, have been urging for a clampdown on the violence, especially as it affects all youth.
"I believe that Mr. Runciman should, at the very least, offer an apology to the Black community and seek to repair an already damaged relationship stemming from the denial of the existence of the practice of racial profiling among some officers of the Toronto Police Service. Care must be given to ensure that no one community is blamed, and that police services and governments work together with communities to address the root of the problem and ensure safety and security for all," Dr. Mock concluded.