Blacks in Canada - Sociopolitical Organization

Although racial discrimination in Canada was not as institutionalized as in the United States, racism has played a major role in constraining the lives and experiences of Black Canadians. Even in earlier times, Blacks were victims of racial discrimination. Free Black settlers in Nova Scotia were given the most rocky and infertile land and, as a result, were barely able to maintain themselves. Blacks in Nova Scotia soon became wards of the government and have lived in a condition of dependency through most of their history. Today, the result of generations of neglect and poverty can be seen in the lack of development in the Black communities of that province. In Nova Scotia and Ontario, school segregation was practiced and Black children were denied equal access to educational facilities. The last segregated, all-Black school in Ontario Finally closed its doors in 1965. Although most provinces have enacted human rights and antidiscrimination legislation, and the federal government of Canada has legislated a Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as Multicultural and Employment Equity legislation, patterns of racism can still be detected in Canadian society. Overt racism in the form of Incidents such as personal assaults, police harassment, name-calling, and racial slurs are evident in the large cities of the country where Blacks have tended to settle. There is also considerable evidence for systemic employment and housing discrimination. The Black population is part of the larger sociopolitical structure of Canadian society. In former times, the small Black communities were not particularly active in Political arenas. More recently, however, a greater sense of Political awareness is developing, as Blacks form substantial residential communities in the larger cities. More Black candidates are standing for political office, although with relatively little success so far. At the moment, the province of Ontario has a Black lieutenant governor who acts as the representative of the queen.

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