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Canadians’ views on racism unchanged, despite ‘difficult’ conversations in 2019: poll – Global News

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Racism often captured headlines and took up space in public discourse in 2019 — but a new poll shows those discussions didn’t necessarily change Canadians’ opinions.

An Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News found 49 per cent of Canadians don’t think racism is a serious problem in the country, while 43 per cent do.

Those numbers are similar to April findings, when 46 per cent said racism was a serious problem.

Sean Simpson, the vice-president of public affairs at Ipsos, told Global News that the poll was conducted to see whether key Canadian news events this year — including the federal election, videos and photos of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing blackface and Sportsnet’s firing of Don Cherry — changed opinions.

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“It’s both good news and bad news,” Simpson said.

“The good news is that things don’t seem to be getting worse. The bad news is that there hasn’t been a lot of improvement.”

Simpson also pointed to the poll’s finding that nearly four in 10 Canadians feel that “white Canadians are under threat from immigration” — a number that’s unchanged from April.

“I think people hold their opinions and things that they see and hear from leaders or celebrities reinforces their own positions,” Simpson said.

“Either they agree with what’s being said, or they disagree with what’s being said, but it doesn’t necessarily have impact or sway their own point of view.”

However, changing opinions on racism won’t happen overnight, noted Kathy Hogarth, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo, whose work focuses on marginalized populations in Canada.

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READ MORE:
37% in Ipsos poll say immigration is a ‘threat’ to white Canadians — what’s the threat?

“We can’t lose hope because our numbers aren’t changing as quickly as we want them to change,” she said.

“We need to continue having the conversation, and we cannot let the resistance to changing attitudes derail the attitudes about racism.”

Hogarth said Canadians have only begun to question issues such as racism in the justice and child welfare systems, and there’s much more to do.

“We’re only scratching the surface. We need to dig deeper to what are the pillars, what are the policies that are holding and breeding racism in place.”

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Don Cherry claims he wanted to apologize for controversial comments


Don Cherry claims he wanted to apologize for controversial comments

Amira Elghawaby of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network added there needs to be systemic change in order for the country to truly understand and eradicate racism.

“We know that in our education system, there is not enough work being done to really understand Indigenous experiences in the this country,” she said.

“We’ve seen cutbacks in different provinces around funding and supporting Indigenous study, as well as looking at various forms of discrimination — Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-Black racism.






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Federal Election 2019: Trudeau says he recognizes ‘how wrong’ brownface, blackface incidents were


Federal Election 2019: Trudeau says he recognizes ‘how wrong’ brownface, blackface incidents were

“We need to have more in our curricula that reflects these experiences; they can’t sort of be tacked on as an afterthought.”

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Elghawaby said that efforts to eliminate racism need to be supported by all level of government, citing the federal anti-racism strategy, which advocates will be closely monitoring.

“At the city level, as well, there’s much that can be done to ensure barriers to services, barriers to employment, and any type of hate that’s going on in our communities, we’re looking for solutions.”


READ MORE:
Racism can become a political flashpoint — advocates say it needs to be a conversation

An ongoing conversation

Conversations about racism need to go beyond just high-profile news events, both Elghawaby and Hogarth agreed.

“I think that in our media, we need to consistently and continually have these conversations,” Elghawaby said, noting Canadians did have meaningful conversations after the blackface and brownface incident and after Cherry’s firing — but then it faded.

“It sort of winds up being only when such a high-profile situation happens. It captures people’s attentions over a news cycle or two, then it fades from public consciousness.”






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Poll: Racism is less of a problem now than before


Poll: Racism is less of a problem now than before

“We need to talk about these issues — and they are difficult conversations, but we still need to be having them,” Elghawaby said.

Hogarth added having ongoing conversations on racism would also help tackle the issue of polarization.

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“When we begin to take an issue that’s really impacting the lives of a minority of people and make it a discussion point, people feel threatened, they feel the need to get defensive,” she said.

“We need to keep the conversation going because we need to understand that it’s not only a Black issue, it’s not a brown issue, it’s not an Indigenous issue. It’s all of our issue.”

Even beyond news events, she noted, conversations need to happen throughout the year — not just focused on specific months, such as Black History Month.

“The conversation must remain alive,” she said.

This Ipsos poll on behalf of Global News was an online survey of 1,002 Canadians conducted between Dec. 3-5, 2019. The results were weighted to better reflect the composition of the adult Canadian population, according to census data. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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G7 demand action from Russia on cybercrimes and chemical weapon use

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The Group of Seven (G7) wealthy nations on Sunday demanded Russia take action against those conducting cyber attacks and using ransomware from within its borders.

The rebuke came in a communique issued after a three-day summit of G7 leaders in Britain that also called on Moscow to “stop its destabilising behaviour and malign activities” and conduct an investigation into the use of chemical weapons on Russian soil.

The communique said Russia must “hold to account those within its borders who conduct ransomware attacks, abuse virtual currency to launder ransoms, and other cybercrimes”.

The issue is in the spotlight after a cyber attack on Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the United States, and another that disrupted the North American and Australian operations of meatpacker JBS USA.

Britain has previously said Russia is a leading proponent of cyber attacks.

The G7 statement called for wider action against ransomware attacks, describing the practice of encrypting victims’ data and demanding payment for its return as an “escalating shared threat”.

“We call on all states to urgently identify and disrupt ransomware criminal networks operating from within their borders, and hold those networks accountable for their actions,” it said.

The call for an investigation into chemical weapon use comes after Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was treated in Germany for what German doctors said was poisoning with a military-grade nerve agent. He accused Putin of ordering the poisoning, which the Kremlin denies.

“We call on Russia to urgently investigate and credibly explain the use of a chemical weapon on its soil,” the G7 document said.

 

(Reporting by William James; editing by Michael Holden)

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G7 chides China on rights, demands COVID origins investigation

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Group of Seven leaders on Sunday scolded China over human rights in its Xinjiang region, called for Hong Kong to keep a high degree of autonomy and demanded a full and thorough investigation of the origins of the coronavirus in China.

After discussing how to come up with a unified position on China, leaders issued a highly critical final communique that delved into what are for China some of the most sensitive issues, including also Taiwan.

The re-emergence of China as a leading global power is considered to be one of the most significant geopolitical events of recent times, alongside the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union that ended the Cold War.

China’s rise has also unnerved the United States: President Joe Biden casts China as the main strategic competitor and has vowed to confront China’s “economic abuses” and push back against human rights violations.

“We will promote our values, including by calling on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang and those rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” the G7 said.

The G7 also called for a transparent, expert-led Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including in China, to be convened by the World Health Organization (WHO). Reuters earlier reported the finalised version of the draft communique.

“We haven’t had access to the laboratories,” Biden told reporters.

Biden said it was not yet certain whether or not “a bat interfacing with animals and the environment… caused this COVID-19, or whether it was an experiment gone awry in a laboratory”.

Before the G7 criticism emerged, China pointedly cautioned G7 leaders that the days when “small” groups of countries decided the fate of the world were long gone.

The G7 also underscored “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues”.

“We remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas and strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo and increase tensions,” they said.

FORCED LABOUR

Biden said democracies were in a global contest with “autocratic governments”, and that the G7 had to deliver viable alternatives.

“We’re in a contest, not with China per se, … with autocrats, autocratic governments around the world, as to whether or not democracies can compete with them in a rapidly changing 21st century,” Biden told reporters.

“As I’ve told (Chinese President) Xi Jinping myself, I’m not looking for conflict. Where we cooperate, we’ll cooperate; where we disagree I’m going to state this frankly, and we are going to respond to actions that are inconsistent.”

The G7 – comprising the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada – said it was concerned about forced labour in global supply chains including in the agricultural, solar, and garment sectors.

Beijing has repeatedly hit back against what it perceives as attempts by Western powers to contain China. It says many major powers are still gripped by an outdated imperial mindset after years of humiliating China.

U.N. experts and rights groups estimate that more than a million people, mainly Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, have been detained in recent years in a vast system of camps in Xinjiang in northwest China.

China denies all accusations of forced labour or abuse. It initially denied the camps existed, but has since said they are vocational centres and are designed to combat extremism. In late 2019, China said all people in the camps had “graduated”.

(Additional reporting by Kate Holton, Elizabeth Piper, William James, Michel Rose and Michael Holden; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, Andrew Heavens and Gareth Jones)

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G7 agrees to end new gov’t support for coal power by end of 2021

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The Group of Seven nations on Sunday pledged to rapidly scale up technologies and policies that accelerate the transition away from unabated coal capacity, including ending new government support for coal power by the end of this year.

The countries, in a communique following their summit in Britain, confirmed pledges to increase climate finance contributions as part of efforts to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change and help a move toward cleaner energy, although climate groups said firm cash promises and other details were missing.

“Coal power generation is the single biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions,” the seven nations – the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – said, adding “continued global investment in unabated coal power generation is incompatible with keeping 1.5°C within reach.”

“We stress that international investments in unabated coal must stop now and we commit now to an end to new direct government support for unabated international thermal coal power generation by the end of 2021,” they said.

U.S. President Joe Biden, speaking after the summit, noted a commitment of up to $2 billion “to support developing countries as they transition away from unabated coal-fired power.”

The nations, in their statement, vowed to focus on other technologies, including carbon capture, to help speed up the transition away from coal.

“We will focus on accelerating progress on electrification and batteries, hydrogen, carbon capture, usage and storage, zero emission aviation and shipping, and for those countries that opt to use it, nuclear power,” the communique said.

 

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Susan Heavey; Editing by Michael Holden and Daniel Wallis)

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