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N.S. premier issues apology for systemic racism in justice system

Premier Stephen McNeil is set to make an announcement on Tuesday, Sept. 29. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has apologized to Black and Indigenous Nova Scotians for systemic racism in the province’s justice system.

McNeil said Tuesday institutions such as the police and the courts have failed Black and Indigenous people.

The premier apologized for the harm, trauma and pain he says many Nova Scotians have endured over generations.

Read more: Municipality paints ‘Black Lives Matter’ murals in Halifax and Dartmouth

McNeil says the Black Lives Matter movement in Nova Scotia and around the world has highlighted the systemic failures that have resulted from relying on policing and law enforcement for public safety.

He says the approach has privileged some and marginalized others, and that the province must do better.

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The premier committed to fundamentally changing the way the province approaches public safety.

Click to play video 'Halifax police formally apologize to NS black community for street checks, racial profiling' Halifax police formally apologize to NS black community for street checks, racial profiling
Halifax police formally apologize to NS black community for street checks, racial profiling – Nov 29, 2019

He told a gathering in Halifax today: “I see you, I hear you, I believe you and I am sorry.”

McNeil says he is putting together a team composed of members of Black and Indigenous communities, as well as members of government and the police, to work on ways to reform the justice system.

The team is to carry out its work over the next 12-18 months.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.

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