Transcript – Episode 47: About the Anti-Racism Secretariat and work at GAC on combatting racism

Welcome to the GAC Files, a podcast about the people, issues and ideas driving Global Affairs Canada.

And now introducing your host, Global Affairs Canada’s deputy minister of International Trade, John Hannaford.

John Hannaford: Okay, good morning everyone. This is another conversation in terms of current life in the department. This is a pretty big issue today. It’s another discussion of the situation of race in our community and considerations about our work in combatting racism.

And I am fortunate to have 4 colleagues joining us today. Our special guest is Myriam Montrat, who is the head of our Anti-Racism Secretariat. But we also have Jenna Hendrix-Miljours, who is currently on assignment in Bridgetown, and we have Meghan Lau, who is serving right now in the office of our security assistant deputy minister, and we have Shalah Mohammed, who is in our trade policy world.

Thank you very much, all of you, for joining us today for this discussion. It’s an important one, and I’ll be keen to hear your perspectives and your wisdom over the course of the chat.

Maybe we can start with Myriam as the head of our secretariat. What is your role, Myriam, and what is your thinking about the kind of tasks we should have as a community and as an organization?

Myriam Montrat: Thank you for the question, Deputy Minister. So to begin with, I would like first to contextualize the genesis of the GAC Anti-Racism Secretariat, because that sets the foundation for what my role is as head of the Anti-Racism Secretariat. So we all know that following the murder of George Floyd and other recorded instances of police brutality against Black and Indigenous peoples in North America, and the subsequent global outcry that this has generated for racial equality and justice, the issue of anti-Black racism and Indigenous racism and racial discrimination in Canada within the public service and the department has been brought to the forefront. Throughout the summer of 2020, you and your colleagues at Global Affairs have heard from and taken part in several discussions with Black, Indigenous and other racialized staff. Those discussions focused on how racism continues to limit the contribution of these employees, their advancement, and how it does perpetuate outmoded ideas and thinking in ways that are sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious, systemic and can even be structural.

And that, of course, significantly undermines and sometimes even negates the importance of diversity and inclusion. So with that in mind, the Anti-Racism Secretariat was created to support departmental actions on systemic racism, racial discrimination and the full inclusion of Black, Indigenous and other racialized people in our department. The secretariat spearheads the work to make Global Affairs Canada an equitable and inclusive workplace that is representative of the Canadians that we serve. So as part of our work, we focus on actions in the 3 pillars: representation at all levels, career development, and anti-racist values, principles and training with the objective, of course, to end systemic racism in the department and address racial discrimination. As the head of the secretariat, I report directly to the Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chris MacLennan, and I provide strategic advice to all of you, deputy ministers. I also play a key role in supporting the deputies as we shape Global Affairs Canada’s anti-racism strategy.

Along with my team, we work closely with senior management and we collaborate with GAC’s Human Resources Branch, departmental champions, the networks for visible minorities and Indigenous peoples, central agencies, other government departments and stakeholders so that we can advance and promote the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion for everyone. My goal for 2021 will be to lay the groundwork for systemic, sustainable change in the department. We started the year strong with an endorsement from the Executive Committee on the Anti-Racism Framework, which now serves as the guiding piece that will assist in the development of the anti-racism strategy. The development of the strategy and the consultation process are well underway, and the goal will be to take this strategy and the associated action plan to the executive committee in the upcoming weeks. We’re working hard to advance and have in place this fiscal year several key initiatives, including launching an anti-racism employee survey this spring. The results of the survey will be used to establish a baseline of where the department is at today on organizational culture, a sense of belonging, personal experience and interpersonal relationships. It will also allow us to assess progress in this regard in the future. It will be conducted on an annual basis going forward. We have also established the Deputy Ministers Advisory Committee on Anti-Racism, which will have its inaugural meeting on March 26. And we are thrilled to have you and Deputy Minister MacLennan co-chairing the first meeting. The committee will be providing feedback and advice to deputy ministers on specific actions as they take shape to end systemic racism at all levels and in all forms in the department.

And I’m pleased to say that the first agenda item will be on the pilot sponsorship program. The program’s main objective is to ensure high-potential aspiring candidates from under-represented groups have access to promotional opportunities. And it ensures that these candidates are given equal consideration for projects, development opportunities and, more importantly, advancement. Finally, the secretariat, as you know, has supported CFSI [Canadian Foreign Service Institute] in the development of anti-racism training for EXs entitled Challenging Racism in the Workplace: The Role of Leadership. And we continue to support the institute in the development of the online anti-racism training for all employees that is expected to launch this spring. So as you can see, we have several big initiatives planned this year that are being led by the secretariat. And there are others in the strategic plan that are aimed at increasing representation at all levels and fostering an equitable and inclusive environment for all. I will add one more thing, and I know that I’ve taken lots of space, Deputy, but you did ask me the question. So I will add one more thing. Although leadership accountability is central to ensuring successful outcomes, let’s not forget that we each have a role to play in ending systemic racism and addressing racial discrimination. This is a collective responsibility. Inaction is not an option. And staying silent is not acceptable.

John Hannaford: Well, you’ve actually anticipated the question I was going to ask you, so thank you for all the work you’re doing, in the first place. It’s incredibly important and it’s essential to the kind of realization of the objectives that we’ve set for the department and for the public service that has been set by the Clerk that the Prime Minister expects from all of us. And I think it couldn’t be more important.

But I wanted to ask you about that last point. You know, you’ve discussed a lot of policies that are absolutely essential to achieving our goals, but at the same time, there’s an aspect of this kind of work that is cultural and that is more interpersonal, if you will. And that’s a little bit more difficult to deal with. And what are the strategies for ensuring that as many members of our department as possible are sensitive to all the goals of our work together?

Myriam Montrat: Absolutely. I think it starts with the pillar that I mentioned around anti-racist values and principles. So we talked about training. In terms of training, we really want to make sure that this issue remains in the minds of all individuals on a constant basis. So that means that training is just the beginning. The dialogue must continue on an ongoing basis, but one of the aspects that we are also pushing is the notion of developing plans for equity, diversity and inclusion. And I think that this too is an important element because it allows the organization, the leaders, the employees to always keep these elements in mind and to take concrete actions to be able to make a difference. In addition, there is the survey I just mentioned. The survey will help us to have a better understanding of the situation in the department and how we are able to address these issues and keep them in mind. And I think the other thing is really we all need to feel comfortable in our discomforts because these are not easy conversations to have. So, that means that there are some people who are going to feel uncomfortable, who are going to feel ill at ease, but that’s part of the process. You’re not able to deal with these issues if you’re not aware of the issue and if you don’t feel comfortable talking about it openly. So I think that’s important too, and I think that ultimately, it’s also this notion of feeling able to speak up, of not keeping quiet when you see that there are behaviours that are inappropriate in the department. And that means that people need to feel comfortable being able to talk about their experiences without fear of repercussions. I think that as a department, we have a responsibility to make sure that everyone is comfortable and that these topics can be discussed in a very open way. Now, as you know, Deputy Minister, culture change is not something that happens overnight, that happens very, very quickly. So it’s going to take time. But what I would say is that we are on the right track because there is a very clear will in the department to make a difference.

John Hannaford: Yes, thank you, Myriam, I think that’s right. I think, obviously, cultural change is something that is, by its nature, a little bit more gradual than policy changes, for instance. But at least my own reflection on this, it does feel, I feel like those of us who are in leadership positions in the department have a particular responsibility to keep reinforcing just how important it is that this is … we have a particular leadership role in ensuring that the department is going in the direction that we all want it to go, but all members of the department have a role here, as well, in really making tangible the changes that we want to see.

And that’s partially, I think, a reflection of just the individual circumstances. Some parts of the department as well. We are a great, big place and there are individual cultures that exist in various corners of it. And I guess I wanted to turn to Shalah right now and just get your input, Shalah, about some of the work that’s been done in the T Branch [Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch], because I know … just an example of some of the more specific efforts that have been pursued, and you and your colleagues have taken a very active role in this, and I am kind of interested in the lessons you’ve learned through that. And, you know, anything that you think would be important to share with the broader community.

Shalah Mohammed: Yeah, absolutely. So Shalah here from T Branch. Last June, I I stepped into 2 volunteer roles: Visible Minorities Network co-rep for T Branch, and co-champion for diversity and inclusion. And the latter role is alongside our existing DG Diversity and Inclusion champion.

And at that point, were pretty keen to do something concrete, to develop an action plan, and we did that with a volunteer working group of Black, Indigenous and people of colour—coined as BIPOC—employees and allies, right? So, folks not necessarily from within that community.

It’s since been endorsed by branch senior management and is now being implemented. So to comment on our work in the branch, let me just maybe highlight 3 aspects of our action plan. I’d say that, you know, from Myriam’s points on the work of the Anti-Racism Secretariat, I feel like there’s a degree of alignment between what we’re doing and the leadership of the secretariat. I know that we’ve also been in touch with the secretariat during the development of that action plan. So just to say that that’s been really valuable in that whole process. So our plan has commitments to create a diverse and representative workforce with the target of at least 25% representation by BIPOC employees at all levels. And that’s a floor, not a ceiling. And some early impacts in that regard have been a staffing guide for all hiring managers and a pilot mentorship program that prioritizes BIPOC employees.

The second—and this is really, I think, related to that culture change piece—is what can we do to foster an inclusive and respectful workplace, you know, through things like dialogue and mandatory or strongly advised training.

So I’ll point to an example this month. We’re rolling out a full-day anti-racism workshop that’s mandatory for all branch employees. And having sat in the first section, I thought it was really great and it was being delivered by Mante Molepo, who may be familiar to folks.

Third, you know, we’re of the view that evidence and expertise need to guide our work. So we’re hoping to bring in a consultant to do what we call a deep dive on where the whole of the branch is at with issues such as systemic racism and discrimination to note the gaps or barriers in our plan, and, if so, how do we recalibrate, as needed? And onto the second part of what you asked, Deputy, observations. So I’ve outlined 3, and really I think they’re similar to Myriam’s reflections and also with the caveat that we’re in the early stages of implementation.

So inevitably, I think we’ll find that there are things that we could have done better. But on to the first. I mean, these are complex issues and I think they pointed to the need for expertise and capacity. So things like lived experience are super important, but they don’t, I think—and I’d welcome views from others, right—but I don’t think they replace professional expertise, someone who is experiencing—and I’m seeing nods—so facilitating and comfortable or solution-oriented discussions and dialogues and knowing how to bridge those gaps, right? People are in various stages of their anti-racism journeys, as we know. And so, you know, that compounded with the fact that you’re volunteering in general has its challenges, but with it being off the side of your desk. But when it comes to anti-racism work, I think there’s a there’s a bit of an irony, right, when the mainly affected group, the BIPOC community, tends to bear the heaviest burden to create solutions or to educate people. The second observation is that allyship and alignment are key. So, and I’m talking about real, not performative, allyship. And just in our experience in T Branch, our volunteers are not just dedicated folks from the BIPOC community, but they’re also great allies. And, quite frankly, we’re in need of more. In particular, I want to point out that we’ve been submitted, sorry, supported by a really strong ally in senior management, and that’s my co-champion Kendal Hembroff, who has been there to take the time to listen, to learn, to unlearn, to roll up her sleeves and to talk through how are we going to bring these issues to senior management and put it on the table. And just on alignment, I mean, you know, we talk about policy windows. I hope folks don’t mind me kind of bringing that concept into this sort of discussion, but the overall environment was, and I think still remains relatively conducive for this kind of work, to initiate and materialize. I don’t think that was the case, really, before last June, but these issues are long-standing and not new to the communities that are most affected by them. But there’s been a bit of alignment here that’s helped us.

And I’ll try to keep it brief in the interest of time. But this third point, which Myriam, you really, you also brought up, is that time, right? These things take time. And there are no quick fixes to end systemic racism. It’s sustained effort, attention and commitment to do what’s needed. You know, I think we’re in a mainstream-ish context, now starting to unravel and unpack how our institutions have been designed, the inherently exclusionary results, specifically in relation to race and what to do about it. So things like dialogue, training and PME commitments, they’re good first steps, but you need to be able, and leaders in particular, need to be able to dig deeper, walk the talk, avoid picking the easy wins and turning this into a box-checking exercise. And, ultimately, don’t forget about it when the headlines fade. So, I mean, we’re like a year in and, I think, just scratching the surface. I’ll close, though, with some cautious optimism. I’m hopeful that the department, so, deputies, management, people with privilege and just anyone listening, right? Because it requires everyone to be involved so that we can collectively ensure that this time will be different: that we will be on the right side of history. And, you know, I was thinking about sustainable and equitable systemic change before you mentioned it, really, just like a strong sign of alignment there and the influence of your work in the secretariat. But, ultimately, that we’re able to achieve that and with these hopes, lastly, I just hope I’m not wrong.

John Hannaford: Thank you, Shalah. Those are very thoughtful comments, and I think, if I could just pick up one point there—there’s an awful lot we could pursue—but I think the thing I’ve been struck by is the point that you’ve raised about the burden being borne by members of the BIPOC community. Because I think that’s just right, and it’s something that I’m very conscious of. I know my colleagues in the deputy community are very conscious of. And, you know, I think we certainly... I guess I’d make a couple of points. One of them is: this is on us. This is not on the visible minorities community. This is on us.

And we are responsible for the direction of the department, and we’re responsible for addressing where we’re falling short of where we need to be. We benefit enormously from the leadership and the engagement of you and your colleagues in ensuring that we are taking actions that are relevant. And that’s why the conversations that we’re having right now and the conversations that you have chaired in other contexts are so important, not because they are the responsibility of the people who are participating in those conversations, and nor should they be exclusive conversations, because what’s absolutely critical is that this is something that is part of the everyday life of our department across the department. But I think I am deeply appreciative of the insight that we’ve received because of people being brave enough to share their experiences and be prepared to.

So, maybe I’ll turn to Meghan. And we’ve heard a bit about the work that’s been done in the T Branch, but, Meghan, you come to this from the I Branch [International Security Branch], and, again, another of our cultures within the broad family of Global Affairs. Maybe you can just share with us some of the work that’s been done in the context of your branch.

Meghan Lau: Sure, I’d be happy to. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be part of this discussion. So I’m going to try not to tread the same ground as Shalah did, because, obviously, you know, we’re all talking to each other. Shalah and I actually haven’t spoken before, but, certainly there’s a big network of those of us who’ve been working on these issues. And it’s been invaluable over the last 9 months or so to be sharing ideas, bouncing ideas off each other. And I would include Myriam and her remarkable team in that: they have been such a resource, such a sounding board for various ideas, as we did want to try them on for the branch. So let’s say right off the bat is that this has been... The I Branch’s work, has been a collaboration. And so like many of us here, I think the conversation in the I Branch really started last June. And over the summer, a number of conversations happened, some directly between our ADM Dan Costello, staff in the branch, others from various communities with me, certainly the Visible Minorities Network has played an invaluable role in contributing their thoughts, their views, staff who identify as Indigenous, staff that are part of the Pride Network. It’s been a really rich conversation. And so on the basis of those conversations and discussions and a lot of these in the HR branch, as well, as a sounding board, our ADM circulated, with the endorsement of senior management, last October a list of commitments related to diversity and inclusion. And so they fall into 4 broad areas, again, closely aligned with what T Branch is working on, with which Myriam’s team is working on: learning and training, recruitment and retention, and promotion and, finally, some data.

I won’t go through all of them, so I’m going to focus instead on what I think of as more of an HR nerdy side of the picture for what we’ve done, because I think that’s incredibly important: focusing on the people side of the equation and how exactly we make sure that we recruit people from diverse, especially under-represented backgrounds, and how we support them so that we retain them and so that we promote them. So one of the commitments that was circulated by Dan last October was to work with colleagues in H branch [Human Resources Branch] to develop guidance for managers. So something very much along the lines, I think, of what Shalah was describing. Managers, we found, wanted to do more, but they weren’t necessarily available with all the tools, sorry, familiar with all the tools that were available to them and hadn’t all experienced them. So we developed this guidance and then that’s sort of been a springboard for us to do a number of different small-scale initiatives that I think of all as little pilot projects to see, you know, what is it that we can do on the HR side within the control strictly of our branch because we are obviously not yet at a point where we’ve got GAC-wide initiatives, but what can we do just within our branch?

So I’ll just give you a little bit of a capsule description of 3 things that we’ve been trying out. The first I’d describe as just looking within. Myriam, I’m going to quote you, but last week in a webinar you said, “The problem, I think, is not a lack of diversity, but a lack of inclusion.” And so what we wanted to do as a branch was look within and see, you know, we all talk about situations where we have staff who are from under-represented groups clustered at lower levels. So we looked at our branch and, sure enough, you know, that’s what we found. So a series of small steps were taken and very much managers pulling together working to solve these kinds of situations. One instance where we had somebody in a role that was definitely not making use of her skills, her ability, her knowledge, her degrees, her training, all of this, that person was loaned out to another division for a short-term acting assignment, but to give her the opportunity to work in a…to do some work that’s closely related to her studies. Elsewhere, you know, again, we all abstractly think, you know, there’s a challenge around official languages for staff who are from visible minorities in particular. So the branch in, you know, more instances than I can count, we’ve decided whether through non-imperative staffing or through commitments to train staff to make sure that we invest in these staff. Because career prospects are hampered by the fact that they don’t speak or write at a sufficient level in the second official language. So that’s…we’ve tried out, you know, baby steps, early days, lots more to be done, but I think we’ve had some successes there already. And that really happened because managers pulled together and worked to find solutions across the branch.

Second initiative, I’d like to think of it as looking outside the box. And I’m going to shamelessly plug an IRCC [Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada] program here that was brought to my attention by the H branch. But IRCC has a program called the Federal Internship for Newcomers Program. IRCC screen staff or potential candidates, newcomers, new immigrants to Canada who want to work in the government or elsewhere, but especially the government, and then they develop a pool. As a manager, it is remarkable. You can call over to IRCC or actually drop an email and in a day, you receive these CVs for staff who speak multiple languages, potential staff, who speak multiple languages, have graduate degrees, law degrees, international experience. Frankly, it’s staggering.

And I think what’s a little bit disheartening is that, you see, in many cases, the staff, or these potential staff, again—I say staff because we’ve actually hired 3 of them in the branch in the last 6 months—these people are working in customer service jobs. They’re in call centres. We’re not tapping into that reservoir of potential the way we could. So the branch has made efforts to hire through this program. We’ve had remarkable results so far. Just to give you a really concrete example, someone was looking for someone with peacekeeping expertise. So I went out on a limb: I asked IRCC, did they have someone? Within 24 hours, 6 CVs for people with peacekeeping degrees or experience: 1 of them, I think, had 20 years in the UN system and had recently immigrated to Canada. So tremendous experience. We just need to know where to look to tap into it. So looking outside the box a little bit in terms of who we hire.

And then the final thing I’ll talk about is what I think about as looking towards the future and to think carefully about student recruitment. Again, this, too, it’s a drop in the bucket of what we need to do, but it’s so important to think about who we’re bringing into the department, who’s likely to join us a few years down the road when they graduate. And so the branch experimented this year with its student recruitment effort. And we targeted in our advertisement people who would self-identify as part of an employment equity group. We were spoiled for choice—again, I think this is maybe the theme of what I’m saying today but spoiled for choice in the CVs we received. We’ve screened them. We’ve hired people. We’re very excited to have a number of staff from underrepresented groups joining us this summer. And as we look ahead, one of the things we want to do as a branch is think through how do we make these staff not just join us for the summer—because that part is maybe the easy part—but how do we make them feel welcome and included and want to stay? So we’re looking at onboarding materials and onboarding programs and buddy programs, things to make sure that they build a network that will help them, that will help them stay in the department and thrive. So that’s some of what we’re doing. Again, all small steps, but a huge collaboration across the branch and with support from all over the place to try to take some first small steps.

John Hannaford: That’s terrific. Those are really interesting examples. I think, as you say, one of the challenges is to make sure we not only think outside the box, but also then make sure that we are promoting inclusion as part and parcel of the overall conversation that we’re having here, because it is so essential to then be able to make sure, as you say, that we can take advantage of the people who are there to offer extraordinary services. And that’s something that’s in the interests of all Canadians.

Jenna, your perspectives are interesting because you are an Aboriginal colleague from a First Nation. But you are also on assignment. So you have a series of perspectives that are relevant to our conversation today. What are your thoughts on these topics?

Jenna Hendrix-Miljours: Hello, thank you. Jenna nindizhinikaaz [my name is Jenna]. It’s a real pleasure to be with you. Thank you for what you have shared so far. I’m really—there are so many things, that I realize I don’t know what’s happening in the department—and that’s really great. So, before I begin my answers, and share my answers, I would first like to acknowledge that there are certainly many listeners located in Indigenous territories, which have never been ceded. So, I invite all of you to do the research and acknowledge this as a sign of respect for the links to the past, the present and future relations with Indigenous peoples. So, I think I will tell you a bit about my experiences. So, I’ve been in the department for 12 years; I was on my first posting and when I really tried to do a—compile all of this in a few minutes to share some key elements, I found I could not approach the question without talking about some of the positive experiences I’ve had, which have been very helpful to me as a—in my process of affirming my identity. I had the chance to meet Indigenous communities in Latin America. I have also met Indigenous colleagues in the department who became mentors. This had a huge impact. And I’ve also had the chance to work with some managers, even before 2020, who greatly valued my Indigenous identity and gave me opportunities based on that, even though it was a little bit beyond my job description as such. So, I will start with the positive side and I also have to say that I have had negative experiences that have left me feeling uncomfortable and that have taken a lot of time to unpack. I can already feel it in my voice that I am still nervous, sometimes, to talk about it, because it is a huge personal and professional process to really understand how one lives a negative experience in the workplace.

Just like Myriam said, I think it’s really a process, there’s a learning process to change, but there’s also a process of understanding what we are going through. In my opinion, these negative experiences have mostly been a result of poor education, prejudices, racist perceptions, and discriminatory approaches that are really supported by systems. Perhaps, as well, there is a refusal to acknowledge that we are still working in ways that continue to create barriers and continue to exclude. I’m going to give you a concrete example that took me some time to share. In fact, I said it for the very first time to someone just last fall, although it happened 2 years ago. It was when I was selected to come to Barbados here on post. Someone told me that it was because I ticked off 2 boxes: woman and Indigenous. And it took me a long time... I think I said to myself, “Ah, I’ll let it go, I’m not listening.” But in the process of affirming my identity, I absolutely had to go through the process of unpacking where that came from, and that it had nothing to do with me, in fact. So, for me, that was really one of the... it may sound trivial to some people, but actually, no, it had a really big impact because it completely negates everything I’ve done, all the efforts, all the collaborations and all that. So, that was the example I really wanted to share with you today. And to come back a bit to the positive, in a way, it’s—as my colleagues have shared—it’s really the culmination of all these experiences that have led to my motivation to want to participate and contribute to these efforts to fight racism, discrimination in the department, even if it goes beyond the tasks of my position as such.

I’ve met impressive people. My commitment to the mandate of the secretariat with the Indigenous Peoples Network, the other staff networks, all these committees, the sub-groups that now exist in the bureaus are made up of people with so much experience, generosity, will. And that’s where I find the solidarity and the real spirit of solidarity that helps me understand better what I’m going through as an Indigenous employee in the department, because there’s a kind of unity, silent understanding sometimes, of simply having lived things that have made us feel a certain way. And I wanted to say, about that question, when we’re speaking of Indigenous identity and Canadian values, sometimes that may seem like a duality, especially representing Canada abroad when there are still so many difficulties and problems in Canada. And for me, it’s part of a whole, because it’s who I am. I’m a woman, and I’m proud to be a First Nations woman, and I’m proud to be Canadian and I’m proud to represent everything that means for me when I’m abroad or when I go on missions abroad to visit projects and partners and all that.

So to go a bit further about a few of the elements of the question that Shalah also raised, when it comes to the future, I have enormous hope. But I also feel a lot of worry that this might pass. Not Indigenous resilience but the concrete will of the people in power and of all of us as Canadian citizens, as Canadian public servants, and about the efforts that are really needed to advance this equity and what we want reconciliation to mean. And on reconciliation, I really think--it’s taken me a while to understand it all--but I think you can’t talk about reconciliation without acting to ensure Indigenous peoples’ rights are respected. Obviously, I encourage and take part in all the efforts that contribute to putting into action the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but I also propose a path of reflection: How can we really redefine relations between Canada’s Indigenous peoples and Canada when there are still communities, Indigenous peoples, who don’t have access to potable water, which is a fundamental right? So for me, it’s a very important path of reflection. And to end on this question of what gives me hope, it’s that... here we are: today. We’re discussing it. That takes enormous courage, and I see it with Indigenous colleagues and other colleagues from marginalized communities. It’s our presence, our collective effort. And I must say also that I’ve met a lot of new young professionals in the department, and there’s now a rejection of the status quo. And that’s truly impressive, and I’m extremely inspired by this new generation. And as others have said, what inspires me is seeing people who dare, people in the department who dare to question themselves, to feel that discomfort and move to action, and not for performance management but because it’s the thing to do. It’s time. And to respect rights, end inequalities and integrate the riches of marginalized communities that we don’t benefit from now.

John Hannaford: Well, look, thank you very much to all of you. There was a lot of wisdom in those comments, and I appreciate you taking the time to share that with our community more generally. And, as I said over the course of the conversation, I’m really very grateful to all 4 of you for your leadership on these issues. And this is obviously a work that is of central importance to the department. And you’re making a huge contribution to it. And I look forward to continuing these conversations with each of you. So thank you so much. All best wishes.

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