Motion on racial awareness debated in P.E.I. Legislature

·1 min read

Members of the Prince Edward Island Legislature debated a motion Thursday aimed at creating more racial awareness within government practices.

The motion was debated as the King government is in the final stages of creating a position for an anti-racism policy consultant within the executive council. The role is being developed with the help of the Black Cultural Society of P.E.I.

Liberal MLA Gord McNeilly, the Island's only Black MLA, tabled the racial awareness motion Thursday.

It calls on the province to review its practices, specifically those in response to racial inequities.

"The people are waiting," he said. "Diversity, Mr. Speaker, is our strength, but only if the people that marched in the streets feel the impact."

In June, many Islanders protested against racial injustice — especially in the wake of police violence against Black people and Indigenous Canadians.

At that point, McNeilly tabled a petition from the Black Cultural Society in the legislature calling on the government to perform "an extensive review of all provincial legislation and policies, applying a racially-focused lens."

McNeilly says it's beyond time to take action.

Nicole Williams/CBC
Nicole Williams/CBC

"Unfortunately talking about these things is the easy part. Almost six months have past and I would ask the question: 'What action has been taken by our government leaders over those six months?' We need positive impacts now."

McNeilly also recommended the government look into solutions like establishing a BIPOC community navigator to help legislators guide future policy.

Premier Dennis King thanked McNeilly for putting forward the motion.

The legislature was adjourned before MLAs could vote on it.

More from CBC P.E.I.