Saint John mayor sponsors motion to make racial discrimination a punishable offence
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Saint John Mayor Don Darling is taking a call for change straight to the council chamber by sponsoring a motion to make racial discrimination a punishable offence.
"We're looking for tangible steps and actions so that we can hopefully do a much better job of eventually eliminating racial discrimination in our society," Darling said.
It's a move that comes on the heels of the Black Lives Matter rally in Saint John, N.B., last month.
Timothy Christie, a Dalhousie University professor and the regional director for ethics services for Horizon Health Network, spoke to a crowd of thousands.
Now, he's written a paper on the New Brunswick Human Rights Act, which he describes as "toothless."
"Even if you're successful at proving a human rights violation has occurred, the perpetrator, the criminal, doesn't get any criminal sanctions," Christie said. "They don't get arrested, they don't get put in jail, they don't get fined."
The six-part motion calls for the city solicitor to provide a report to council by no later than the end of August on what options the city has when it comes to imposing penalties on someone who has racially discriminated against another person.
The motion would also see common council writing a letter to the province calling for changes to legislation to make racial discrimination a provincially punishable offence.
Council will also write to the federal government in an attempt to have this put into the Criminal Code of Canada.
Black Lives Matter founder Matthew Martin is in full support of the motion.
"It is about not allowing racial discrimination and hatred to be demonstrated in our communities and then wrapped up in a claim of freedom of speech," Darling said.
CTV News reached out to the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission for comment, but were told that no one was available.