On his first day in office, the white premier of Nova Scotia chose a fellow white man to serve as a representative for thousands of African Nova Scotians and as head of the Canadian province’s anti-racism efforts, enraging members of his community.
“I understand the emotions of it but [the decision] shouldn’t be interpreted as not being concerned about listening to the community,” Tim Houston, a member of the Progressive Conservative Party, said in a statement Tuesday night. He picked Pat Dunn, a member of the Canadian Legislative Assembly, as the minister for African Nova Scotian Affairs and the Office of Anti-Racism Initiatives.
There are roughly 21,000 people of African descent in the province distributed among 50 African Nova Scotia communities. Replies to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation tweets about the decision as well as Facebook comments on Houston’s announcement denounced the decision as “tone deaf.”
Among the Progressive Conservative Party’s 31 members elected to office in August, there were no Black members. Three Black Progressive Conservative candidates had run and lost. Houston said, rather than choose a Black candidate from outside his party for the post now occupied by Dunn, that “our democracy works best when the people that are elected are put into positions of accountability,” according to the Toronto Star.