Premier defends picking white man as minister of African Nova Scotian affairs

·1 min read

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's new premier is sticking by his decision to name a white member of his caucus as the new minister responsible for African Nova Scotian affairs and the Office of Anti-Racism Initiatives.

Progressive Conservative veteran member Pat Dunn was named to the posts, and he was sworn into office during a ceremony Tuesday in Halifax.

There were no Black Tory candidates among the party's 31 members who won ridings in the Aug. 17 provincial election.

Houston said Tuesday he considered choosing someone outside the Tory caucus to represent African Nova Scotians, but he felt democracy "works best" when people who are elected are put into positions of responsibility.

The premier stood by his position today during a news conference about health-care reform.

Houston says despite criticism on social media calling his decision "tone deaf," his party ran a diverse slate but none of the Tory's three Black candidates were elected.

He says he is making a commitment that the African Nova Scotian community will be heard by his government, adding that "the buck stops with me" on the issue.

"I understand the emotions of it but it (the decision) shouldn't be interpreted as not being concerned about listening to the community," Houston said.

According to the African Nova Scotian Affairs website, there are 50 African Nova Scotian communities and nearly 21,000 people of African descent call the province home.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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