June 8, 2020 / 5:33 PM / a month ago

Canada's Trudeau wants body cameras for police, cites lack of public trust

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said he wanted police forces across the country to wear body cameras to help overcome what he said was public distrust in the forces of law and order.

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rubs hand sanitiser on his hands, given to him by a protestor, while taking part in a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada June 5, 2020. REUTERS/Blair Gable/File Photo

Trudeau, who last Friday attended a protest against police brutality, called for bold action to tackle systemic discrimination and racism against black Canadians and indigenous Canadians.

Trudeau said he had spoken earlier in the day to Brenda Lucki, head of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“One of the things we discussed was the adoption of body cameras. I’m committing to raising this with the provinces this week so we can move forward as quickly as possible,” Trudeau told a daily briefing. “Body cameras (are) a significant step towards transparency.”

The RCMP, which is a federal police force, also services eight of the 10 provinces. Ontario and Quebec, the two most populous provinces, have their own police.

According to a survey by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, the only major police force in Canada that obliges its officers to carry body cameras is in Calgary, Alberta.

Trudeau said the federal government was working on other measures to improve how the RCMP worked but gave no details.

“The reality is that many people in this country simply do not feel protected by the police. In fact, they’re afraid of them,” he said.

Trudeau spoke a day after Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Canadians deserved answers over the arrest of an indigenous leader who alleges police beat him up.

Protesters in Montreal and other Canadian cities took to the streets on Sunday in the latest international demonstrations against police brutality, sparked by the death of an unarmed black man in Minnesota.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Dan Grebler

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