Halton’s police chief attacked NDP leader Jagmeet Singh on Twitter for saying that the Rideau Hall incident would’ve ended different if the intruder was non-white. This is not the first time the Police Chief has gotten involved in partisan politics on a public forum, having previously attacked Ontario NDP Leader, while praising Doug Ford. 

In a tweet directed to NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Chief Steve Tanner wrote, “I suppose you openly believe the accused should have been killed by the RCMP then”, when Singh pointed out systemic racism in the RCMP following the incident of a white military reservationist, Corey Hurren, storming Rideau Hall with multiple firearms. 

The MP for Burnaby South said the way Hurren was handled shows just “how systemic racism is real” and added, “This person showed up with weapons, publicly, at the residence of the prime minister of Canada and was arrested without being killed.”

Hurren walked through Rideau grounds in search of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for 13 minutes before the RCMP arrested him without anybody getting injured. 

Singh drew a comparison between the incident at Rideau Hall and Ejaz Choudry, 62, who was killed in his own home in Mississauga by a Peel Region police officer on June 20, in response to a mental health call.

Chief Tanner has been criticised for using his account as an Ontario Police Chief to public “troll” leaders and engage in partisan politics. 

This isn’t the first time the police chief has participated in partisan politics on Twitter. He attacked NDP’s Ontario Leader, Andrew Horwarth, and praised Conservative Premier Doug Ford. 

Even though Chief Tanner publicly criticized Singh for “[making] it an issue of racism”, Black and Indigenous people in Canada are more likely to be shot and killed by a police officer than white people. A CBC investigation found that between 2007-2017, even though Black people account for less than 3% of the population, they made up 9% of deaths. Similarly, even though Indigenous people only make up about 4% of the population, they accounted for 15% of deaths by the police. 

In Toronto, between 2013 and 2017, Black people were 20 times more likely than their white counterparts to be involved in a fatal shooting by the Toronto Police Service. Black people only make up 8% of the city’s population. 

Ontario Police Chiefs also wrote a letter also demanding that Singh apologise for his comment, and instead thank the police officers who were peacefully able to de-escalate the situation at Rideau Hall. The letter said Signh’s comments attack “individual officers who day in and day out make life-saving decisions involving armed people from all backgrounds and cultures”. 

Recently, however, Canada has been forced to look at systemic racism in its police system as The Black Lives Matter protests gained widespread momentum again after a non-armed Black man, George Floyd, was murdered by a white police officer in Minnesota. The protests started in the city, but soon spread across America and Canada. There’s now a growing movement to defund the police across North America and instead use their surplus budgets towards reforming communities.


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