April 12, 2019
HALIFAX (KJIPUKTUK) Members of the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition (ANSDPAD) left a meeting Thursday evening, April 11, organized by the Minister of Justice to discuss the problem of street checks. The meeting had been hastily called by Minister Furey after a report on street checks was released identifying that the racial disparity in the practice was found to be worse even than had been reported by the CBC in 2017. Senior officials from the Department of Justice, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, the Halifax Police Commission, the chief and deputy chief of the Halifax Regional Police, and other members representing Black community agencies and the Immigrant Settlement Association of Nova Scotia were in attendance.
Coalition members, including Professor Michelle Williams, Schulich School of Law, Sylvia Parris-Drummond, a member of the African Nova Scotian community and Robert Wright, a well-known Halifax social worker, delivered an open letter addressed to Minister Furey to those present. Then, after brief statements, the team left the meeting.
“Street checks are illegal and must stop before we can sit to discuss their impact. We are not interested in negotiating away our inherent human and Charter rights” said Williams.
“We are extremely disappointed at those persons and organizations that have the authority to stop the practice of street checks, yet have chosen to allow the illegal and discriminatory practice to continue” said Wright.
“The current process, including the timing of the meeting, does not respect our community as an equal partner,” said Parris-Drummond. “And DPAD is wanting to establish a new working relationship with Government. One where mutual respect and consideration is evident in the way we work with each other.”
Contact: Robert Wright , Sylvia Parris-Drummond