‘Sub­tle, racist com­ments’ trou­ble Casey

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ATLANTIC - BY HARRY SUL­LI­VAN

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.

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