Advocates say BC’s new legislature not racially diversified

Photo Credit: The BIPOC Project
Photo Credit: The BIPOC Project
Yetunde Bada - CFUV - VictoriaBC VictoriaBC VictoriaBC VictoriaBC | 09-11-2020
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Political advocates in British Columbia (BC) have said the newly formed legislature after the recent snap elections does not reflect the diversity BC is known for.


The advocates speaking to CFUV 101.9 FM in Victoria say snap elections, party structure, policies concerning Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) do not promote diversity.


According to an article written by Mr. Andrew MacLeod, The Tyee Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria, BC’s new legislature is still ``way whiter than the province’’.


McLeod’s article quotes Rob Gillezeau, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Victoria, as saying that “My sense of the results so far is really limited progress across the board in terms of representation’’.


Gillezeau, in MacLeod’s article, agreed that although the gender outlook of the house had a modest improvement, BIPOC members could not clinch new seats.


Councilor Shamarke Dubow told CFUV 101.9FM that in addition to snap elections, how political parties work towards policies that would improve relations with BIPOC and other racialized communities, was important.


``Do we give them a chance; do we have a policy that helps them? The NDP has gone a step ahead and has the equity clause for instance for women and racialized groups. Are other parties ready to tow that line?


``I think trainings and mentoring too can help. Train people on the beauty of diversity and mentor those that have ambitions to run for political offices. More people should be encouraged to serve,’’ Dubow said.


Also speaking to CFUV 101.9FM, Nancy Nyandika, the co-founder of BlackSpeaks Victoria, agreed with MacLeod that parties can take the lead to ensure more seats for the BIPOC community.


`` Yes, BIPOC communities are under-represented in the legislature. Our hope is that the all the conversations that were had right before the election will go beyond establishing relationships with various groups in our community and focus on sustainably investing in these groups’ development.


``There's a lot of room for improvement. We need more support for youth, especially BIPOC youth, who want to venture into politics.


``For a sustainable solution, we will need to work together, whether you are NDP, liberal, conservative. We must work together to ensure that our collaboration goes beyond having roundtable discussions and produces sustainable results,’’ Nyandika said.