Raymond Sheppard: Since our August Black Human Rights Matter rally I have been contacted by 32 African Nova Scotians who all give the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission a failing grade.
Equity Watch calls for major structural changes to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) to deal with the many complaints about its fairness and timeliness that have been raised over the years. The organization lays out its critique and recommendations in Justice Impeded, a well-researched and detailed 50-page report that was launched through a virtual press conference this morning.
Legal arguments in the appeal of a Nova Scotia human rights board decision about the institutionalization of people with physical or intellectual disabilities continued today. Intervenors in the case argued that the systemic nature of the discrimination must be acknowledged. There is no discrimination, lawyer Kevin Kindred countered for the province.
After Premier McNeil’s surprise apology for systemic racism in the justice system and the harm it has done, he announced the formation of a design team “to reimagine a system of justice in Nova Scotia”. We talk with Robert Wright, spokesperson for the DPAD coalition, to find out more about its proposals for an African Nova Scotian Justice Institute and a Policing Strategy, and to better understand its criticism of the provincial justice initiative.
Black Nova Scotians and allies rallied outside the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission offices on Spring Garden Road. The NSHRC is reluctant to pursue race-based human rights violations while its employees often lack a lived understanding of racism, protesters say. And the commission isn’t listening.
Judy and I and our two sons have fought our entire lives against all forms of discrimination, racial and anti-Semitic. And we have paid for it. During one incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan in Toronto where we organized resistance, somebody broke into our apartment and painted anti-Jewish slogans on the walls. My bruises from confronting white supremacists have healed. But, even in my 70s, I am still willing to challenge hatred and bigotry wherever I find it. Disappointingly, several of the attacks have come from the institutional Jewish organizations that felt uncomfortable with our criticism of Israeli policies and actions.
Press release: “An EKOS survey commissioned by IJV Canada in 2018 shows that the Canadian Jewish community is significantly split on the issue of Israel and antisemitism. It reveals, for example, that 60% of Canadian Jews agree with the statement “Accusations of antisemitism are often used to silence legitimate criticism of Israeli government policies.”
Some 40 people rallied this afternoon in downtown Hlaifax in support of Rana Zaman, a tireless activist whose human rights award was abruptly taken away on Wednesday by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC), a mere 10 days after it was awarded.
“Rabbi Jonah Rank, who was associated with Halifax’s Shaar Shalom synagogue until recently, wrote an impassioned defence of Ms. Zaman to Human Rights Commission CEO Christine Hanson calling Zaman “a friend to the Jews, a courageous changemaker.” He cites Ms. Zaman’s efforts in establishing a peace-seeking group of Halifax Jewish and Muslim women called “Salaam-Shalom.” From a press release issued by Independent Jewish Voices, condemning the rescinding of Rana;s Human Rights Award.
A cowardly Human Rights Commission has rescinded the award Rana Zaman received last week after it was aleged that she is antisemitic. Rana is rightly critical of Israeli policies towards Palestine, but antisemitic she isn’t.