Premier’s Statement on Racism
NOTE: The following is a statement from Premier Iain Rankin.
Nova Scotians and Canadians – of all ages and from all different backgrounds and ethnicities – were heartbroken by the hate-motivated killings of four members of a Muslim-Canadian family in London, Ont., last weekend.
These murders come on the heels of the disturbing uncovering of the remains of 215 children buried in Kamloops, B.C., and the many incidences of violence against Black Canadians and African Nova Scotians.
Across the country, we have come together to mourn and to acknowledge the need to do better to prevent these horrific events from continuing to happen.
What is clear from these events is that words are not enough. Racism exists in our country and here in Nova Scotia. It is not unique to one community, region or province.
With respect to the most recent hate-motivated murders, I attended the vigil at the Ummah Masjid and Community Centre last week to stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and all Nova Scotians who were grieving the deaths of these four people, members of the same family.
Following the vigil, I met the next day with local Muslim leaders to hear directly their views on what we can all do to the address these troubling issues in our communities.
As a result of our conversations, I have asked the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives, working with other government departments and communities, to develop clear definitions of Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Asian racism and other types of racism and inequity that exist in Nova Scotia.
These definitions will be used to educate Nova Scotians on systemic racism and inequity and enable us all to work together to address them. I have also asked the Office to consider incorporating these definitions into provincial anti-racism legislation to enshrine our province’s commitment to this work.
The Office is also developing, in collaboration with other departments and communities, an anti-racism strategy for the province that will tackle the stigma and hatred directed at minority communities. This strategy will include public education, recommendations to address hate motivated crimes, collection and responsible use of race-based data, and public reporting measures.
When I became Premier, I made a commitment to address racism, discrimination, hate and intolerance.
I know we can do better as Nova Scotians. I know we must do better.
I look forward to hearing from the office about how it will begin to tackle these issues.
This is important work, and we need to get it right so that all Nova Scotians can grow and prosper in a province that is welcoming, inclusive, fair and kind.