featured Racism

Op-ed: Slow is better, says Halifax Council, when it comes to Cornwallis and carding

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – At the time when early in October Halifax Council voted to launch an expert panel to help it figure out what to do with the Cornwallis statue there was a notion that we would very quickly find out who those experts were.

Photo Simon de Vet

We should have known better. It took until yesterday afternoon, two full months later, before the eight experts were finally approved during an in camera meeting of Halifax Council.

We still don’t know who they are though, because now these experts need to be notified of their appointments themselves. Makes you wonder what arguing and positioning is happening during these in camera meetings deemed to be none of our business.

This sluggish pace, by the way, is very similar to what is happening relative to another racism-related issue in Halifax, namely carding. In that case the Board of Police Commissioners decided to find an expert on racial profiling. Initially we were told that analysis would be completed by July, but an expert was only hired in September. It will likely take until late next year until we see a completed report.

In neither case did the groups that triggered these processes even ask for investigations, analyses or recommendations. They want the practices to end immediately. They were very clear about that.

So why does it all have to take so long? You can’t help but wonder what could have been accomplished by now if Councillors and Board of Police Commissioners had done a bit of governing, rather than pushing the inevitable decision making time out to a date in the far off future.   

Also yesterday Council discussed a study on the on the feasibility of a commuter rail service between Bedford and Halifax. Councillor after councillor told staff to work harder, complete reports quicker, because this issue is so super urgent.

That sense of urgency is sadly lacking when it comes to carding and Cornwallis. Councillors may protest how deeply they care about racism in our city, but their lack of action and urgency speaks louder than words.

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