A council designed to promote the rights and interests of African-Nova Scotians is currently sitting 70 percent empty. Today, the Liberal government voted to keep it that way.
Today the Official Opposition Progressive Conservatives called on the government to fill vacancies on the Council on African-Canadian Education, which has 12 vacancies out of a council of 17 members. The governing Liberals voted ‘no’ to the motion.
Until today, there has been no discussion of filling these vacancies by the government. Progressive Conservative MLA for Sackville-Beaverbank and member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Brad Johns, put forward a motion calling on the government to get to work.
“This Committee should be fulfilling its mandate to have 17 members and bring varied voices to the table,” says Johns. “Minister of Education Zach Churchill is failing to meet his duty by leaving seats empty on this Council.”
The council was developed as a result of recommendations from the Black Learners Advisory Committees report on education.' to address inequality. Across North America, we are seeing important conversations about systemic racism. Education plays a vital role in addressing inequality and racism, and Johns says this committee plays a crucial role for Nova Scotians.
“It is incumbent upon me to bring a motion forward to promote the rights and interests of African-Nova Scotians by providing recommendations to the Minister on programs and services in public education and adult education,” says Johns. “The Council on African- Canadian Education requires 17 members to discuss and provide valuable advice, we are currently working with only five members, resulting in less opportunity to provide constructive feedback on improving education requirements.”
Specifically, the Council on African-Canadian Education impacts important decisions from elected officials and school boards on how to address systemic racism in our public education system.
“The curriculum should include learning materials that respect the history, heritage, culture and traditions that contribute to the society built by African-Canadian people. We need to take these first steps in modernizing and improving our education on African-Canadian history,” says Johns.