Jun 4, 2020
Dismantling systemic racism takes more than 'lip service': Kingsdale's Wes Hall
'I wasn’t invited into the boardroom - I had to create my own company': Founder of Kingsdale Advisors, Wes Hall
Corporate executives and politicians need to stop giving lip service and commit to making changes in order to help dismantle systemic racism, according to the founder and executive chairman of Toronto-based shareholder advisory firm Kingsdale Advisors.
“We hear a lot of companies say: ‘I’m doing things, I’m doing stuff.’ The government is saying they’re doing stuff,” Wes Hall said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman Thursday.
“Take that statement and put it up against the makeup of your board. Take that statement that you’re against anti-black racism and systemic racism, and put [it] against the makeup of your management team. If you’re a politician, take that statement and put it against your cabinet. And then see if you’re walking the walk.”
“If you’re not, now look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I’m going to make a change and it starts now,’” he added. “We just can’t give it lip service.”
Hall’s comments come the day after former Conservative MP Stockwell Day resigned from the board of directors at Telus Corp., as well as from his position as a strategic advisor at law firm McMillan LLP, after comparing racism to his experience of being mocked in school for wearing glasses. Day also said he does not think Canada is a racist country. He made the comments during a panel discussion about racism in Canada on CBC’s Power & Politics Tuesday.
“How did Stockwell Day get into that position? He was invited into the boardroom, he was invited into the executive suites,” Hall said. “I wasn’t invited into the boardroom. I was not invited into executive suites. I have to create my own company.”
Systemic and anti-black racism has been top of mind across the globe following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minn. on May 25.
“I can guarantee you this: Stockwell Day will be replaced in those boardrooms and executive suites,” Hall said. “And he will be replaced by another middle-aged white man who is half as capable of doing the job as I am.”
“So that is systemic racism. And if we don’t acknowledge it exists, we’ll never get rid of it.”