Saint John Police Commission Has Opportunity to Diversify

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Saint John Police Commission Has Opportunity to Diversify

NBWA co-hosts Neil Clements, Matthew Martin (President of the New Brunswick chapter of Black Lives Matter) and Dr. Timothy Christie (Regional Director of Ethics for Horizon Health) regularly discuss systemic racism in the province and what actions currently need to be taken to pave the way to a better, more inclusive future for New Brunswick. On the sixth episode of the series, the three co-hosts agreed that the opening for a new chief of police in Saint John is an opportunity for New Brunswick's largest city to make a conscious decision to diversify its police force starting at the top. 

"We've got an opportunity for a new police chief in Saint John right now, which means this is also an opportunity to make positive change in New Brunswick. The chief of police in Saint John has recently resigned," said Saint John-based lawyer Clements.

"I would put the challenge out there to the hiring committee to actively look for a person of colour to fill that role," said Martin, who believes the Commission needs to address systemic issues of discrimination head on by making conscious decisions to diversity as a whole.

The Saint John Police Commission also recently saw Mayor Don Darling of Saint John step down from being a member of Police Commission Board--a decision that's garnered a lot of attention due to the mayor's history of speaking out against the systemic issues he sees with the Commission.

"The Mayor of Saint John recently stepped down from the Police Commission Board, and he's always being very vocal about wanting the police board to be more transparent," said Martin. "He has felt very handcuffed."

Dr. Christie expressed his believe that a need for a public inquiry into all departments of governments is the necessary next step for the province to progress as a whole. 

"In December, the majority Conservative government voted against a motion to perform public inquiry into systemic discrimination in New Brunswick," said Dr. Christie. "The opposition parties had submitted a motion, and all but one Conservative MLA voted against it. The vote was 24 to 23. We've been calling for an inquiry since the beginning of this show, but this motion was for a specific inquiry into a specific situation limited to just the Department of Justice and the Department of Public Safety. I think that that's too narrow a scope. I think a public inquiry is necessary, but we need a broader public inquiry into all of the policies and all of departments in government. And I don't want people to forget how important it is to also criminalize racial discrimination."

"We are here to have these uncomfortable conversations," said Clements, at the end of the show. "And they don't have to be comfortable, but they have to be had.

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Video Upload Date: February 24, 2021

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