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CTV Urged to Address, Correct & Prevent Anti-Asian Racial Bias

July 25, 2014

CTV Urged to Address, Correct & Prevent Anti-Asian Racial Bias

Friday July 25th, 2014

Mr. Phil King
President
CTV Programming

Dear Mr. King,

Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter and the Urban Alliance on Race Relations (UARR) are writing this letter jointly requesting that CTV respond to the concerns raised by CCNC Toronto’s Open Letter to the Community on July 18, 2014 as a result of tweets by Mr. Brent Piaskoski, executive producer of CTV’s “Spun Out”.

As reported by Tony Wong of the Toronto Star on July 15, Mr. Piaskoski made a series of racially charged Twitter postings with the Spun Out logo on July 12 aimed at ‘Chinese people’ that he had encountered at the airport and on the flight. These tweets disappeared on July 14. When contacted by the Star, Mr. Piaskoski offered a hasty apology, which he also tweeted. Since the Toronto Star piece, there has been complete silence from CTV and Mr. Piaskoski.

As a reputable Canadian broadcaster with the important responsibility of telling stories that reflect the rich and diverse cultures of our community, CTV and Mr. Piaskoski need to own up to these racist tweets and not hide from this incident.

Indeed CTV and Mr. Piaskoski should reflect on CTV’s own history in relation to the Chinese Canadian community with the broadcast of CTV’s W5 program “Campus Giveaway” on September 30, 1979, which gave rise to the Anti-W5 campaign that not only galvanized the community but also led to the establishment of the Chinese Canadian National Council.

We urge CTV and Mr. Piaskoski to fully examine the racism and xenophobia underlying the tweets and the attitudes that support them. We encourage better engagement and dialogue with the various communities that make up your audience, ongoing anti-oppression training and the development and application of organizational change frameworks regarding this issue. One significant concern for many racialized communities in Toronto, and Canada, is a lack of media representation that is non-tokenistic and non-stereotypical.

We look forward to your reply.
Sincerely,

Gary Pieters, Urban Alliance on Race Relations
416.703.6607 ex. 1
gary@urbanalliance.ca

May Lui, Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter
416.596.0833 ex. 1
executivedirector@ccnctoronto.ca

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Justice Iacobucci report urged changes in “Police Encounters With People In Crisis”

July 25, 2014

20140724_101358Justice Iacobucci Speaking at the Release of his Report on “Police Encounters With People In Crisis”
Justice Frank Iacobucci report on the Toronto Police use of force entitled “Police Encounters With People In Crisis” was released at Toronto Police Headquarters on Thursday, July 24th 2014 at 10:00 am. It contains 84 recommendations under 9 broad topics. Full coverage of Justice Frank Iacobucci report and the recommendations can be accessed online at http://www.tpsreview.ca/

IMG_7009Representatives of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations including Margaret Hageman, Anthony Morgan and Gary Pieters along with Irwin Nanda of the Ontario Federation of Labour were present at the news conference upon release of Hon. Justice Frank Iacobucci’s independent review and report, “Police Encounters With People in Crisis”

Justice  Iacobucci’s Independent Review of the Use of Lethal Force by the Toronto Police Service Gary Pieters of Urban Alliance on Race Relations and Irwin Nanda of the Ontario Federation of Labour respond to Iacobucci’s Independent Review of the Use of Lethal Force by the Toronto Police Service.

What we would like to see is that this report gets into the hands of every single rank & file officer. We want to see that the recommendations and the steps to make those recommendations lived reality in the daily lives of policing is embedded into the culture of these officers through some form of professional training that happens immediately. – Gary Pieters (CBC News Video on the Release of Justice Iacobucci’s Report on “Police Encounters With People In Crisis”)

We note that the 84 recommendations contained in Justice Iacobucci’s report on Police Encounters With People In Crisis built upon the 27 recommendations already found in the UARR report Saving Lives: Alternatives to the Use of Lethal Force by Police Report (2000).

At the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, we are interested in a progressive approach to policing that result in equitable, positive social outcomes. In the report, we looked for:

  • Recommendations that promote better community policing and believe that many of the recommendations are the first step towards that outcome.
  • Research on racialized persons in crisis and their police contact outcomes, and this is perhaps the missing intersectional issue that was overlooked. The report did not look at the intersectionality issues of race & mental health in a diverse society along w/ culturally responsive models of support. In fact, we would have liked to see organizations with a critical race and mental health lens invited to participate in the implementation advisory group including Across Boundaries Mental Health Centre, Taibu Community Health Centre, The Urban Alliance on Race Relations, Youth Mental Health Groups, LGBTQ organizations, as well as those organizations dealing with the homeless and street involved persons.
  • Appropriate approaches and police behaviour in their interactions with people in crisis, the mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or those that are developmentally disabled have been addressed in many of the recommendations.
  • Better collaboration between the police and CAMH to better manage the environment and behavioural interaction of police to reduce/eliminate aggression and violence in first responder contact with people facing mental health issues. This area has been alluded to in looking at the role of the mental health system in preventative approaches to serving people in crisis thereby reducing the frequency of police being the first responders to people in crisis.
  • Altering the environmental triggers of policing to better influence how police feel, think and behave in emotionally charged, crisis or critical incidents was addressed in changing the culture of policing to better respond to people in crisis.
  • We are concerned about the implementation on a pilot basis of CEWs including Tasers in the hands of frontline officers. We support the call by Justice Iacobucci for further research on Tasers. We believe that a differentiated approach or tiered approach to de-escalation which should place combined emphasis on interpersonal communications, alternatives to aggression and violence, and interdisciplinary resources including the Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams, Mental Health Leads/Mental Health Champions along with ongoing professional learning and training to enable officers to be better able to respond to the built environment impact on the behaviour of persons in crisis.
  • We urge that the procedures for police contact with people in crisis be applied in an equitable and supportive manner, and that it does not criminalize mental health in any way. We all want positive social outcomes for this crucial initiative, so accountability needs to be built in to the implementation. Still, this is a hopeful development in the history of the Toronto Police Services.
  • We also would like to see Justice Iacobucci’s report on “Police Encounters With People In Crisis” adopted by the Ministry of Community Safety and implemented throughout the province. With over 52 police services in the province, it would be great to see best practices across the province harmonized in order to transform the culture of policing in Toronto and across Ontario.

Media/Commentary


Sammy Yatim report: More officers should wear cameras CBC Television

Report on use of deadly force gets mixed reviews Sharenews

Justice Iacobucci report sets roadmap for police encounters with people in crisis Toronto Star

When Police Meet People In Crisis Ottawa Citizen

Police ‘culture change’ must be matched by fixing mental health system Toronto Star

Report makes sorrowful acknowledgement — Toronto police have ‘in effect, become part of the mental healthcare system’ National Post

When Police Face Mental Health Calls, An Officer’s Brain is the Best Tool The Globe and Mail

Implementing Iacobucci’s recommendations won’t be simple: Mukherjee Toronto Sun

Iacobucci use of force report recommends Taser study Toronto Star

Groups call on gov’t to appoint more minority judges

July 24, 2014

Groups call on gov’t to appoint more minority judges


UARR Invited Comment to Sharenews July 24th, 2014

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations has sent a letter in support of the lawyers as they seek diversity in the workplace. We believe that greater effort and political will is required to bring fairness and transparency to the recruitment, hiring and appointment process of federal judges,” Alliance president Gary Pieters said. “It’s time the issue of diversity and representativeness of our communities in the judiciary become an issue of public importance.

Continue to Full Article

Media Advisory: Human Rights Advocates Will Respond to Justice Iacobucci Review of Use of Force by Toronto Police

July 24, 2014

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
July 24, 2014

Human Rights Advocates Will Respond to Justice Iacobucci Review of Use of Force by Toronto Police

Toronto – Human rights advocates, who were at the forefront of the community’s response to the gunning down of Sammy Yatim during an incident with Toronto Police one year ago, will be available to respond to the Honourable Frank Iacobucci’s Independent Review of the Use of Lethal Force by the Toronto Police Service. Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Iacobucci is scheduled to release his report on Thursday, July 24.

A background video produced by advocates can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPGQRHdhtzg

What: Human Rights advocates will respond to the Honourable Frank Iacobucci’s Independent Review of the Use of Lethal Force by the Toronto Police Service

Who: Gary Peters, President of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations
Irwin Nanda, Executive Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Labour

When: Following the release of the Honourable Justice Frank Iacobucci’s review on Thursday July 24, 2014, 10 a.m.

Where: The media gallery of Toronto Police Service Headquarters, 40 College Street, Toronto

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Contact:

Gary Pieters, President of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, tel. 416-703-6607 or gary@urbanalliance.ca
Irwin Nanda, Executive Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Labour, cel. 416-450-9419

Steven Staples, Director of Communications (acting) of the Ontario Federation of Labour, cel. 416 578-3230 sstaples@ofl.ca

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Related

Anti-Asian Racism in Tweets Posted by CTV’s Spun Out Producer Brent Piaskoski Condemned

July 19, 2014

Anti-Asian Racism in Tweets Posted by CTV’s Spun Out Producer Brent Piaskoski Condemned

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations shares the concerns outlined by the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter in their Open Letter to the Community in response to racist tweets by Canadian TV producer Brent Piaskoski.

We stand in solidarity with the CCNCTO and the Asian Canadian community to condemn racist tweets of any kind. We urge the Canadian television and film industry to take this as a teaching moment to review its equity policies, commit itself to ensuring all Canadian productions truly reflect the diversity of the community, and conduct anti-racist training especially for those with decision-making powers.

We urge the Canadian broadcasting industry to tell stories that reflect our dreams and aspirations in all their richness.


Friday July 18, 2014

An Open Letter to the Community

by May Lui
Executive Director
Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter

Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNC Toronto) is responding to the shameful racism revealed earlier this week tweeted by Brent Piaskoski, a Canadian television producer.

This is our response. This is not about the Chinese community asking for apologies.This is not about Mr. Piaskoski having caused “hurt feelings”.

CCNC Toronto is an anti-racism and advocacy organization based in Toronto. While we work primarily with Chinese Canadians living in Toronto, we are connected to numerous social justice and anti-racism communities and have voiced opposition to many instances of individual racism, as well as systemic racism, for many years.

Many other publications have identified the kinds and sorts of racism presented by these racist tweets, and we’d like to take this opportunity to identify some specific commonalities these tweets have with historical anti-Chinese racism, as expressed in Canada, individually and through policy, for decades.

Chinese people, whether newcomers or those whose families have lived in Canada for generations, are framed as perpetual outsiders, or perpetual foreigners. Chinese Canadians are assumed to be un-assimilatable for a number of racist reasons (language, food, cultural norms that differ from what’s identified as “Canadian cultural norms”). Such racism is known as
“everyday” racism, or “common sense” racism.

It is this racism that is taught and imbued into Canadian culture, that enables listener bias”, identified in this example as a selective choice to hear loud voices belonging to a non-white community (in this case, Asian people. We only have Mr. Piaskoski’s word that the group he referred to was actually Chinese) as problematic while loud people from the mainstream white community are considered normal or rambunctious.

Many East Asian groups are mis-identified as Chinese, mainly for the reason that of all the immigrant groups within Canada today, Chinese folks have been in Canada the longest, and settlement patterns indicate that this population is the largest of the current East Asian community in Canada. Other East Asian nations include Japan, Korea, Vietnam and many more.

At CCNC Toronto we believe that identifying racist acts and behaviours is important, and allows us to have conversations both within the Chinese community and between ours and other communities. It’s not the naming of a tweet as racist that’s a problem, the problem is not talking about it, and not recognizing it as racism, and for not having ongoing conversations as ways for everyone to unlearn racism that is on and below the surface of modern Canadian society all the time.

We also believe that individual acts and behaviours are ultimately not the real problem. Canadian society as a whole, and examples of systemic racism are the problem. Examples include the Temporary Foreign Worker program, preferential hirings, changes to the Immigration Act, specifically family reunification, and discrimination in the workplace. These are only some of the larger, systemic problems that need serious responses and changes, in order to make Canada more equitable for all.

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Justice Frank Iacobucci Report on Use of Lethal Force by Toronto Police to be Released July 24, 2014, 10am.

July 18, 2014

Full Article From: /CNW/ http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1388265/report-on-use-of-lethal-force-by-toronto-police-to-be-released Former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci to issue Independent Report on the Toronto Police Service’s encounters with People in Crisis

TORONTO, July 17, 2014 /CNW/ – The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, will present his independent Report on lethal police encounters with people in crisis to Chief of Police William Blair of the Toronto Police Service on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 10 a.m. The presentation will take place in the media gallery of Toronto Police Service headquarters. Members of the public and media are invited to attend the release, at which Mr. Iacobucci will discuss his mandate, findings, and recommendations.

The Report, titled “Police Encounters with People in Crisis,” is the product of the Independent Review of the Use of Lethal Force by the Toronto Police Service, led by Mr. Iacobucci and established by Chief Blair in August 2013 following the shooting death of Sammy Yatim in an encounter with Toronto Police.

Without diminishing the importance of public safety and the sanctity of human life, the Report analyzes ways of reducing the use of lethal force by the Toronto Police Service, with a particular focus on police interactions with people in crisis – people whose behaviour brings them into contact with the police either because of an apparent need for urgent care within the mental health system, or because they are otherwise experiencing a mental or emotional crisis requiring police assistance in order to protect the person or those around them.

The Report sets out 84 recommendations. In establishing the Independent Review in 2013, Chief Blair stated that the Report will be used as a blueprint for the Toronto Police Service in dealing with this serious and difficult issue in the future.

Mr. Iacobucci was asked to conduct an independent and objective review of the following topics:

  1. TPS policies, procedures and practices
  2. TPS training, and training at the Ontario Police College
  3. Equipment used by TPS
  4. Psychological assessments and other evaluation of TPS police officers and officer candidates
  5. Supervision and oversight
  6. The role of the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT) currently employed by TPS
  7. The role of TPS Emergency Task Force
  8. Best practices and precedents from major police forces internationally (in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other jurisdictions)
  9. Available studies, data and research
  10. Other related matters.

The Hon. Frank Iacobucci will present his Report at 10 a.m. on July 24, 2014 at:

Toronto Police Service Headquarters – Media Gallery
40 College Street
Toronto, Ontario

There will be a media lock-up from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Advance copies of the Report will be distributed. David Outerbridge, Counsel to the Review, will make a presentation and be available to answer any questions.

About The Honourable Frank Iacobucci

Mr. Iacobucci, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, currently Senior Counsel at Torys LLP, was appointed on August 30, 2013 by Chief of Police William Blair of the Toronto Police Service to conduct an Independent Review of the use of lethal force by the Toronto Police Service, with a particular focus on police encounters with people in crisis. For more information about Mr. Iacobucci, please visit www.tpsreview.ca

SOURCE Independent Review of the Use of Lethal Force by the Toronto Police Service

For more information about the review or to schedule an interview, please visit: www.tpsreview.ca or contact: David Outerbridge,Torys LLP, Phone: 416-865-7825, Email: tpsreview@torys.com

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Related

UARR congratulates Barbara Hall on the naming of a Toronto Park in her honour

July 18, 2014

Barbara Hall’s civic leadership honoured with the naming of a Toronto park in her honour

UARR congratulates Barbara Hall on the naming of a park in her honour; she is a friend of community organizations which fight all kinds of discrimination. Barbara Hall has provided civic leadership in her public service for many years; she has been the Chief Commissioner at Ontario’s Human Rights Commission for 10 years. Please come to UARR’s 39th Anniversary Dinner and Community Awards Dinner where Barbara Hall will be our keynote speaker.

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