HALIFAX -- Former Lt.-Gov. Mayann Francis isn't holding back when it comes to recent moves made by the new Progressive Conservative government.

"Recently, there were decisions that were made by the new Nova Scotia government that are perfect examples in my view, of systemic racism and systemic discrimination," Francis said during a Zoom event with George Elliot Clarke on Wednesday evening.

Francis is concerned Dr. Kasa Munroe Anderson was removed as the deputy minister of communities, culture and heritage and that the health board was dismissed and replaced with all white individuals.

She is also expressing concern that Pat Dunn, a white man, was named Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs.               

"For me, all of these decisions are a step backward and I have to tell you, when I heard about it, I said, it's going backwards. And it did have an effect on me, thinking about it for days and days and days cause you see, I have personally experienced racism in government, and in the health-care industry," said Francis.

Premier Tim Houston has faced backlash over his decision to name Dunn African Affairs Minister.

"There were some steps we took as a new government that we thought were the right steps, particularly the appointment of the cabinet minister from our elected caucus. It was not meant to send a message we don't care and if that's the message that's been sent, I apologize," said Houston.

Dunn said he's been listening to the reaction to his appointment and plans to reach out to many community organizations and key stakeholders to learn and understand the issues.

"I am committed to listening to the community and working on behalf of the community to earn their trust," said Dunn.