Former Conservative Minister Stockwell Day stepped down as a commentator on the CBC News Network. Power and politics – and left management positions at two big companies – after commenting on Tuesday's program on racism in Canada, he later admitted to being "insensitive and harmful".
"I apologize for wrongly equating my experiences with theirs. I commit my endless efforts to fight racism in all its forms," Day said in a tweet earlier today.
Day also notified CBC that he was moving away from his role as commentator on the show.
Day, a former federal opposition leader and later government minister under Stephen Harper, was questioned during a panel discussion Power and politics Reacting to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's comments Tuesday morning about protests that spread across the United States after the police murder of African American George Floyd.
Trudeau's comments did not address Trump's threat to call on the armed forces to remove protesters, but pointed to what Trudeau said was Canada's own problem with systemic racism.
"We have to recognize that our system is not perfect in Canada," said Day during the panel discussion. "Yes, there are some stupid racists out there, but Canada is not a racist country and most Canadians are not racist. And our system, which always needs to be improved, is not systemically racist."
Day went on to compare the bullying he suffered as a child with the discrimination faced by visible minorities across the country.
"Should I have studied and been ridiculed for wearing glasses and being called four eyes and because of my parents' occupation?" Day asked. "Should I have been ridiculed for all this? No, of course not. But are Canadians largely and mostly racist? No, we are not.
"We celebrate our diversity around the world and for the Prime Minister to hint – and it is a hint – that our system is systemically racist is wrong."
Panelists Amanda Alvaro and Emilie Nicolas opposed Day, challenging their claims about systemic racism and Day's comparison with their own experiences being bullied.
Through feedback from many black communities and other communities, I realize that my comments in the debate on Power and Politics were insensitive and damaging. I apologize for mistakenly equating my experiences with theirs. .Advertisement
This argument appears to have cost Day his position on the board of directors of Telus and his role as a strategic advisor to McMillan LLP.
"At McMillan LLP, we believe that systemic racism is real and can only be addressed when each of us – as individuals and organizations – commits to significant change," said the company in a statement signed by Teresa Dufort, partner and CEO, and posted to your Twitter account.
"Yesterday, Stockwell Day made comments during a television interview that runs counter to that view. Today, he offered his resignation as a strategic consultant at our company and was accepted."
Telus also released a statement announcing that it had accepted Day's resignation from its board of directors immediately.
"The views expressed by Mr. Day during yesterday's broadcast of Power and politics do not reflect our organization's values and beliefs, "the statement said.