Statement from the CBA President on the Derek Chauvin verdict

  • April 21, 2021

It has been almost a year since the recording of the murder of George Floyd by a police officer was released, shining a stark, unflinching light on the systemic racism faced by Black, Indigenous and other people of colour. We see examples not only in the United States, but also here in Canada and in countries around the world.

The Canadian Bar Association respects the jury decision in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, which holds him accountable for his actions. But it is only one step toward addressing the systemic discrimination which Indigenous, Black and people of colour face in dealing with police both in the United States and here in Canada.

We can point to a list of Indigenous people and people of colour in Canada who have been assaulted or killed by police, and watched those police face no consequences for their actions. Racism is deeply ingrained in Canada’s systems and institutions. It has been fully documented in myriad reports, including those of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry.

We must continue to fight against discrimination, starting with the systems and institutions that perpetuate it. Canada prides itself on adherence to the rule of law and principles of equality. The law must be applied and enforced fairly. All lawyers have a role to play in reforming our justice system and improving public confidence in it.

The CBA calls on governments and institutions in Canada and beyond to promote equality as a fundamental right and to make a commitment to rid themselves of the systemic, institutionalized racism that continues to thrive.