Black Lives Matter
Large crowds gathered outside of Victoria City Hall on June 8, 2020 to participate in a rally in support of Black Lives Matter. (Photo by Shalu Mehta)
West Shore

How are Langford-Juan de Fuca candidates addressing racial discrimination?

We sent MLA candidates your election questions. Here's what we heard.
Shalu Mehta October 12, 2020

What will provincial candidates in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding do about public safety for individuals who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour? That’s a question we at The Discourse heard from you after we launched a poll asking what you think should top the B.C. election agenda. Our goal is to put you in the driver’s seat of the election conversation because we believe you should guide it, not the candidates or the parties.

Leading up to the election, we’re publishing answers to questions you sent. Today, the question is: What are you doing to increase the public safety of BIPOC and educate adults about discrimination?

As of Oct. 9, The Discourse received answers from all four candidates via email. I’ll be rotating the candidates’ order of responses with each story we publish. Here are their responses. I’ve copied them directly from the emails they sent.

Gord Baird, BC Green Party

Black, Indigenous and people of colour. This is a systemic, historical and cultural issue that must be addressed at the institutional level – schools, police, healthcare, and judicial. I support training in cultural sensitivity as well as human rights safety. With regard to British Columbia’s Indigenous people, first comes Truth and then comes Reconciliation. Truth is achieved through education and training to better understand the history of our colonial attitudes and become more culturally sensitive. Reconciliation will only happen down the road when we have a much better understanding of Indigenous history and culture. Then we can begin a process of relinquishing power and recognizing Indigenous rights.

Tyson Riel Strandlund, Communist Party of BC

The CPBC is calling for the recognition of Indigenous title to all traditional territories, and an end to resource projects on Indigenous lands without full consultation and approval, as well as to all violations of Bill 41, the  “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.” The NDP is directly responsible for the existence of man camps that threaten the health and safety of Indigenous women and their communities, as well as for the militarized RCMP assault approved by John Horgan on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, which we condemn in the harshest terms. We additionally call for the expansion of full labour protection standards and rights to migrant workers. I would fight, moreover, for racist and fascist groups such as the Proud Boys, KKK, Soldiers of Odin, etc. to be banned, and membership in such organizations deemed criminal.

Kelly Darwin, BC Liberal Party

I believe that discrimination is a lack of education. We need to increase awareness and education, and embrace diversity in our home lives, in our schools and in our public policies.

John Horgan, BC New Democratic Party

Like all British Columbians, I believe in the protection and expansion of human rights and need to address discrimination in our society. Moving forward, a re-elected BC NDP government is committed to doing this by:

  • Delivering a new law to take on racism: With B.C.’s Multiculturalism Act now 25 years old, we will conduct a full review of anti-racism laws in other jurisdictions and launch a full stakeholder consultation leading to a new Anti-Racism Act that better serves everyone in B.C.
  • Bringing forward legislation to help reduce systemic discrimination: We will work with B.C.’s new Human Rights Commissioner and other stakeholders to introduce legislation that paves the way for race-based data collection essential to modernizing sectors like policing, health care and education.
  • Carrying out a modernization of the Police Act: Based on recommendations of the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act, we will modernize the Police Act with priorities on: tackling systemic racism, creating a dedicated hate crime unit within local police forces and reviewing training and procedures related to wellness checks.
  • Ensuring better representation in the public sector: To create a more representative public sector, we will support increased IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour) representation within government and set targets for IBPOC representation in the public sector.

Further reading:

  • In this interview with News 1130, Dominique Jacobs from the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour talks about whether or not the political parties in B.C. are doing enough to tackle anti-Black racism in the province. Jacobs is also featured in this story from the Times Colonist, where she calls on the party leaders to address anti-Black racism during a virtual town hall.
  • As reported by Global News, a B.C. human rights organization says a pledge made by the BC Liberal Party to tackle “street disorder” and crime rates by hiring more police officers criminalizes poverty. There have been growing calls to defund policing across Canada as protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue in the U.S., the Nelson Star reports.
  • The BC Liberal Party website highlights various issues it plans to tackle, if elected.
  • The BC Green Party will be releasing its platform soon, but platform announcements and a BC Green Policy can be found on the party’s website.
  • On the BC NDP website, a series of commitments are listed as part of the party’s platform. One of the commitments is “equality, inclusion and human rights.”
  • Justice for Indigenous peoples and defunding the police and military are both part of the Communist Party of BC platform.