‘There is still more to be done’: Alberta government releases plan to combat racism

Alberta's new anti-racism advisory council, in a photo dated Feb. 25, 2019. provided / Government of Alberta

The Alberta government released its Anti-Racism Action Plan on Monday which it says outlines a path “for taking meaningful action to address racism.”

The plan aims to help build a more welcoming and inclusive province for all Albertans.

“This action plan serves as a road map for our province to confront and take steps to eliminate racism to ensure Alberta is a free, fair and prosperous place for everyone,” Labour and Immigration Minister Kaycee Madu said in a news release.

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“Over the past three years, Alberta’s government has shown a proven track record of dealing with racism, but there is still more to be done in order to end all forms of racism, discrimination and systemic racism once and for all.”

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The plan is grouped into five themes, all of which highlight areas where the government plans to make more progress. Those themes include public education and cultural awareness, government as a catalyst for system improvements, empowering communities, responding to hate incidents and crimes and data and measurement.

To ensure the actions included in the plan are effective, the Alberta government noted that steps will be taken to measure progress.

These actions were built on recommendations from the Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council, as well as feedback from community groups addressing racism across the province.

“On behalf of the Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council, we are pleased to see the government of Alberta move forward on actions that will help combat racism in our province,” said Mohamad Awada, co-chair of the advisory council. “I look forward to continuing this work alongside the government to build more welcoming and inclusive communities for all Albertans.”

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That’s a notion shared by fellow co-chair Chinaemerem Sochi Ogbonna.

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“While there is still a long road ahead, this announcement is a positive step forward for Alberta to address the racism that exists in our society,” Ogbonna said.

“The specific actions and accountability measures outlined in this plan will help build our province into a place of safety, freedom and opportunity for all.”

The government of Alberta will continue to receive input from the advisory council and said it will work closely with racialized and Indigenous communities to “better understand systemic challenges and how they can be addressed in the future.”

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“Combating systemic racism is an imperative step towards building a more prosperous, inclusive Alberta,” said Anila Umar Lee Yuen, president and CEO of the Centre for Newcomers. “A key aspect of newcomer prosperity is to actively work towards ending systemic racism. Although our province requires a lot of work ahead, I am happy that the government of Alberta is announcing the necessary steps to address racism.

“The recommendations from the Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council are foundational to creating the inclusive province all Black, Indigenous or persons of colour (BIPOC) Albertans deserve to have.”

Besides the new Anti-Racism Action Plan, the Alberta government is also working on several more anti-racism initiatives, including establishing a hate crime liaison and a hate crimes co-ordination unit, formally recognizing First Nations policing under the Police Act and banning the practice of carding.


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