Premier Doug Ford acknowledges systemic racism in Ontario, backtracks on earlier comments

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TORONTO – Premier Doug Ford has backtracked on his comments that Canada doesn’t have the same “systemic, deep roots” of racism as the United States, acknowledging that Ontario has a history of racism stretching back decades.

Ford made the comments Thursday as he announced the creation of a council on equality of opportunity – a new advisory group that will provide advice to the government on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers.

The premier also said his comments from earlier this week were misunderstood and “spun out of context”, stressing that he sees systemic racism in the north Toronto community he represents in the legislature.

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“We have our own history of racism here in Ontario and it’s been going on for decades,” he said. “You can go back 60 or 70 years and I know people right now are feeling pain out there. I see it.”

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On Monday, Ford was asked to comment on the anti-racism protests in cities across the U.S. that were sparked by the death of a black man at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

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