Anti-racism council unsure if it will continue its work under UCP government

More a rhetorical than a real question. Unlikely:

A government-led council dedicated to combat racism in Alberta appears to be in limbo, with its members saying they haven’t received any concrete direction on the future of their mandate from the new United Conservative government.

The Anti-Racism Advisory Council was put together under the NDP government in February, shortly before April’s provincial election that ended with a change in government. Spearheaded by then-education minister David Eggen, the council was the first of its kind in Alberta, and advised the government on the development of anti-racism and anti-discrimination programs.

The council has since been shifted to Multiculturalism and Status of Women Minister Leela Aheer, her ministry has confirmed. But since the change of government, the 24-member council hasn’t been active and hasn’t received any direction from Aheer on their mandate.

Heather Campbell and Lucenia Ortiz, the co-chairs of the advisory council, said they were introduced briefly to Aheer in a phone conversation May 24.

“We have not heard from minister Aheer or from any of her staff since then,” the co-chairs said in an email. They added they worry about the future of the council, as the new fiscal plan for the ministry makes no mention of funding allocated specifically to the council.

“It would be difficult for the council to hold meetings when there are no resources to cover travel and accommodation for many out-of-town members,” the co-chairs said. The council was intended to do the bulk of its work with the government in Edmonton, they added.

Aheer’s spokesperson Danielle Murray said in a statement that continuing to support diversity and inclusion is a priority of the government. Murray, however, did not answer questions about whether funding has been specifically allocated for the council to continue its work.

The Anti-Racism Advisory Council is part of a larger initiative that began under the previous government to take more bold action on addressing racism in the province, following the Quebec mosque shooting that killed six people and injured 19 in early 2017. Following the announcement of the council, the province received more than 300 applicants for its 24 seats.

Source: Anti-racism council unsure if it will continue its work under UCP government

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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