There is systemic racism in the province, Doug Ford now acknowledges. On Wednesday, June 3, the Premier seemed to reverse his stance on racism in Ontario. He noted at parliament that "of course" the province has seen systemic racism, just one day after he seemed to suggest the opposite.
Ford said on Tuesday that any protests held against anti-black discrimination and police brutality in the province wouldn't turn to rioting or looting as Ontarians "wouldn't tolerate it."
At the same press briefing, the Premier said: "Thank god we're different from the United States and we don't have the systemic, deep roots they've had for years."
Those comments quickly sparked some backlash from black MPPs.
And on Wednesday, Ford appeared to walk back his statement.
"Of course there is systemic racism in Ontario, there's systemic racism across this country,” Ford said at parliament on Wednesday. "I know it exists."
He also admitted there is no way he can know firsthand the hardships that minorities face.
"I do not have those lived experiences and I can empathize with them, but ... we’ve never walked a mile in someone’s shoes that has faced racism."
"We will do everything we can and within our powers and work collectively with other parties to stamp this out," he added.
This apparently shifted approach comes after Ford's Tuesday comments received criticism from black MPPs and advocates.
Sané Dube, policy and government relations lead for the Alliance for Healthier Communities, told Global News: "People hold up a mirror and say that it’s not the same as what’s happening at this States, but it is the same as what’s happening in the States."
Meanwhile, a message from black Liberal MPPs Mitzie Hunter and Michael Coteau urged Ford to "take clear, direct and continuous action to reform the ways in which our society disadvantages Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities," per the Toronto Star.
On Tuesday, Ford had admitted he does not have time to watch the news these days.
Last weekend saw a peaceful protest walk the streets of Toronto in memory of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who died last month while police were responding to her home at 100 High Park Ave.