‘Subtle, racist comments’ trouble Casey
Racism and intolerance of others are serious issues within society, says Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey.
“Our society is changing and we have to understand that. To me, I don’t think comments should be made that make people feel uncomfortable or show disrespect. It doesn’t matter what it is,” said the Member of Parliament for Cumberl and Colchester.
His Truro constituency office is a prime example.
“We experienced comments that made us very uncomfortable, which I thought were disappointing, over the last little while. They’re subtle, racist comments. And that’s why I invited members of the Black Caucus to come to Truro,” he said of the recent visit. “Because it was a response to some of the comments that I heard around the riding.”
Prior to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s weekend visit to Nova Scotia to attend the Pride Parade in Halifax, Casey said he received an email from a man he previously had longstanding respect for. The man’s words were simply “awful,” he said, and speak to the broader issue in society about a lack of respect from certain quarters.
“There is definitely an issue about equality,” whether it is in regard to sexual orientation, gender, culture or skin colour, he said.
“We’re equal. Human beings are equal. There are so many ways of judging people if you want to judge them. But the bottom line is we have to treat them as equal, we have to respect each other’s rights and privileges.”
Casey said there was a time he wouldn’t have participated in a Pride parade. But he said he proudly attended last year’s inaugural event in Truro and plans to do so again on Saturday.
“It’s an acknowledgement that people are equal whether they are gay or straight or transgender or black or white or whatever,” he said, of the overall message the Pride Parade is intended to convey.
An area Casey has made adjustments to in his own behaviour, he said, is when it comes to asking people who speak with an obviously foreign accent, such as the taxi drivers in Ottawa, where they are “really from.”
“I’ve learned now that that makes them uncomfortable. I don’t do it anymore. But I learned that from experiences in Truro,” at his own office, he said. “I didn’t realize I was making them uncomfortable, because they are Canadians and they want to be recognized as hyphenated-Canadians.”
Casey said he applauds the prime minister for making a point of attending Pride parades in various areas of the country and for generally promoting equality in all its forms.
Nova Scotia MP Bill Casey says he proudly attended last year’s inaugural Pride parade in Truro and plans to do so again this weekend.