Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has announced the federal government will be investing $221 million of taxpayer cash in a group to give loans to black entrepreneurs to start businesses.
Mr Trudeau made the announcement this week in Toronto at the HXOUSE organisation, a group that describes itself as a “Toronto-based, globally focused think-centre. Serving its community as an incubator and accelerator, it helps to foster innovation and opportunity for creative entrepreneurs.”
Of the $221 million, $93 million will be used over the course of the next four years to launch a new federal government programme, the Black Communities Entrepreneurship Program of Canada, newspaper La Presse reports.
Another $53 million will likely be set aside for a new fund to make money available int he form of loans only to businesses run by black entrepreneurs.
Trudeau claimed the move was to combat “systemic racism” in Canada, saying: “We’re going to have more to say about our justice system and the reforms that need to be done. We’re going to have more to say about the need to work with our police forces to combat systemic racism.”
“The pandemic has highlighted the inequities that disproportionately affect black communities in Canada and the need to revitalize our economy to give all Canadians an equal chance to succeed,” Trudeau claimed.
The move comes after Trudeau pledged his support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in June and took a knee during an event in Ottawa after the death of Minnesota man George Floyd.
Despite the show of solidarity with the group, however, many in the crowd openly mocked the Canadian leader.
Last year, Trudeau was embroiled in a scandal revolving around the many times he wore blackface prior to becoming the head of the Canadian Liberal Party and Prime Minister of Canada.
As numerous incidents of Trudeau donning offensive attire emerged, he was asked by one reporter if he knew how many times he had engaged in such activity in the past. Mr Trudeau was unable to give a clear answer.