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Joanne Bealy: Open letter – Appoint an African Nova Scotian as Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs

Premier Tim Houston
PO Box 726
Halifax NS  B3J 2T3

Dear Premier,

I am a white woman in my sixties living in Halifax. I moved to Nova Scotia 9 years ago and was confronted by what appeared to be wide-ranging anti-Black racism even among whites who otherwise seemed open and welcoming. They didn’t wonder about it and certainly didn’t acknowledge it.

Since then, I’ve seen change, not always profound change, but change enough that white people, including some government officials, started listening and supporting Black-led organizations. Enough so that there was a smidgeon of hope generated that Nova Scotia could be different; enough so that politicians saw that it was expedient to listen; enough that people understood there was a problem here and wanted to change it.

You told us in your campaign that you were a listener who wanted to listen to and work with ALL communities, including marginalized communities. In your first day of leading, you’ve done the opposite. That you would appoint a white man to the Ministry of African Nova Scotian Affairs AND the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives can ONLY be seen as a message fired out to the province as a whole that you are not interested in the voices of African Nova Scotians. That you would immediately dismantle a health board that finally had Indigenous and Black members and that you would appoint a landlord as Minister of Housing tells us that you have no interest in representing the marginalized who are, after all, also your constituents.

You could still change the already wide-spread perception that the only constituents who matter to you are white, cis, moneyed ones. The Black history of Canada begins in Nova Scotia. You could listen to what the people have said and reach beyond your party’s boundaries to appoint an African Nova Scotian as Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs. And honestly, it does not bode well that Mr. Dunn, who claims to understand the African Nova Scotian community, does not see how his appointment is wrong. If he did understand, he would have stepped aside and he would help you choose a more appropriate candidate.

It is not too late to convince ALL Nova Scotians that you are better than what your first few days in office have indicated. Change is still possible.

Joanne Bealy
Halifax, NS

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  1. I 100% agree with Joanne’s comments and am ashamed to be a Nova Scotian as a result of this appointment. I had received emails and phone calls from friends in BC and Ontario asking if this is true and why white Canadians, as well as African Nova Scotian’s and others are not up in arms over this appointment. Disgusting.

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