“I don’t think we need to be that descriptive,” said Mayor Michael Fougere, who rejected the proposal to require two BIPOC on the Regina Board of Police Commissioners.
On Wednesday, city councillors expanded the number of civilian members on the board by two seats in an aim to further reflect Regina’s diversity, as BIPOC represent 28.8 per cent of Regina’s population, according to the 2015 census.
However, no changes were made to increase diversity on the board. Just one of seven members is required to be Indigenous.
“If we’re increasing the size, we’re going to need more than one Indigenous representative. Representation matters and being the only person in a larger group identified as Indigenous is troublesome,” said Coun. Andrew Stevens.
The Ward 3 councillor presented a motion to require two Indigenous members on the board, but when several councillors suggested that could exclude people of colour from the board, Stevens expanded the motion that would require two BIPOC seats at the table instead.
He failed to gain enough votes for his motions to pass.
“There are non-visible minorities that should at least have the opportunity to be considered,” Coun. Bob Hawkins said. “If we’re being too descriptive they might not be included. I’m thinking of the LGBTQ community. I don’t want to exclude people from being too descriptive.”
The mayor agreed.
“We all live in the real world,” Fougere added. “We know what we’re doing here.”
Governed by The Police Act, Regina’s Board of Commissioners is responsible for approving the Regina Police Service’s budget, developing strategic goals and objectives and negotiating collective bargaining agreements.
Speaking to Global News Sunday, Regina police Chief Evan Bray was quick to throw his support behind the board’s expansion.
“Knowing that our police service goes to great lengths to be reflective of our community, having more community representatives on our board will be a really positive thing,” Bray said. It’s going to give us more community involvement, and more outreach in the community, and ultimately that will help shape our police service in the years to come.”
Seven members will now serve on the police board, four of which are civilians. The other three include the mayor of Regina and two city councilors, who are appointed annually.