Canadian Bar Association’s Vivene Salmon: ‘Systemic racism is not just an American problem’

Legal group releases statement on police violence

Canadian Bar Association’s Vivene Salmon: ‘Systemic racism is not just an American problem’
Vivene Salmon

Canada is falling short of standards that uphold public trust in the law, said Canadian Bar Association president Vivene Salmon.

In a public statement addressing recent incidents of police violence, Salmon said that anti-Black racism is “deeply engrained in Canada’s systems and institutions.”

“The Canadian Bar Association is deeply disturbed by the videotaped killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis and other recent incidents of anti-Black violence in the United States and Canada. The CBA stands in solidarity with those who have peacefully protested police brutality and demanded justice and accountability,” said Salmon.

“Systemic racism is not just an American problem. Canadians must work to challenge discrimination[.]”

Lawyers, in particular, must reform the justice system and work on improving the public’s confidence in it, said Salmon, who is the first visible minority and first female corporate counsel to lead the CBA.

“These inequalities are apparent in recent incidents of violence and in the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on racialized and Indigenous communities,” said Salmon. “The CBA calls on governments and institutions in Canada and beyond to promote equality before and under the law as a fundamental right and denounce all forms of racism.”

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