QUEEN’S PARK — After months of dodging questions from the Official Opposition NDP, the media and the public about the future of the Anti-Racism Directorate and other critical anti-racism initiatives across Ontario, the Ford government’s budget estimates have finally revealed the Ford Conservatives have budgeted $1,000 for Anti-Racism initiatives.
On Tuesday, Laura Mae Lindo – the Official Opposition NDP’s critic for Anti-Racism, Citizenship and Immigration – asked the Ford government why they felt $1,000 was sufficient for Anti-Racism initiatives at a time when community members, advocates and experts including Statistics Canada and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) have noted that racism and hate crimes are on the rise.
“The story that these estimates tell us is that the Ford Conservatives are just not interested in doing racial justice work,” said Lindo in question period.
“Doug Ford and his government are unwilling to take concrete steps towards racial equity. There’s money allocated to staff and advertising, but no money to do the actual anti-racism work. There is no money to invest in the organizations and programs that are making progress on these issues and no money to resource the Black, Indigenous, Jewish and Muslim anti-racism subcommittees that this government disbanded, despite hate crimes being on the rise.
“Does the premier believe that we can fight racism with $1,000?”
The Ford government refused to give a clear answer.
“Doug Ford is willing to spend $50,000 off-the-books just to buy a souped-up custom van for himself, but when it comes to addressing racism and building a more equitable and inclusive province for millions of Ontarians, he is just dragging us backwards,“ said Lindo.
“Ontarians deserve so much better from their government than this.”