HALIFAX, NS, August 20, 2021 — Nova Scotia Parents for Public Education denounces the actions taken by the city and Halifax Regional Police on Wed, August 18. We are disappointed and dismayed at the flimsy excuses and lies offered to explain their actions.
Members of NSPFPE were present at the protest, and affirmed that actions by the police were designed to intimidate and provoke as soon as crowds gathered. This included surrounding the crowd (a technique known as kettling — widely condemned after the Toronto G20 Summit in 2010), using bikes to push back protesters, and brandishing pepper spray before any unrest began.
We call on Dan Kinsella to resign. His inadequate response is intended to mislead the public, and deflect responsibility away from officers at the scene. These tactics are about PR and controlling the narrative, not about public safety. He also failed to adequately address reports of missing name badges and a Thin Blue Line patch. These reports should infuriate him into investigation, not have him put the responsibility on “concerned citizens” to report.
We call on Mayor Savage to step aside until a full investigation is complete. His repetition of police talking points shows a disregard for the experience and safety of the citizens he claims to want to protect.
We call on the premier-designate, Tim Houston to direct his ministers to immediately address both the housing crisis, and police actions. We also request a formal review of municipal campaign finance rules and especially contributions from developers and landlords. Councilors and MLAs who are landlords should be required to put their properties in a blind trust for their duration in public service.
Being homeless is not a crime. It’s a public policy failure. Increasingly, families are finding it difficult to secure stable, long-term housing. They are being priced out of the market and not able to cover rent on their wages, which are kept artificially low by unfair minimum wages.
As supporters of strong, high-quality public education, NSPFPE is keenly aware of the need for strong public policy around poverty reduction and affordable housing. Too many of our families are on the brink of similar circumstances, and we must speak for our most vulnerable. It is actions like this that make us question the logic and appropriateness of liaison officers in schools, knowing the testy and fractious relationship law enforcement has with the marginalized citizens in our communities.
Nova Scotia Parents for Public Education was started in 2016 by parents concerned with the government’s deteriorating relationship with teachers. They have 18,000 members on Facebook, and use their platform to promote and protect public education.