New Brunswick announced that it will hold its first “International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination” on March 21st, 2024. Fredericton Deputy Mayor Greg Ericson stated:


“Fredericton City Council invites residents, organizations, and community leaders to join in commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.


 “This day serves as a call to action against racism and discrimination, promoting awareness, education, and solidarity in the ongoing fight for equality and inclusion.”


Though the intentions on the surface level seem pure enough, when you really put some thought into it, this day is essentially performative activism from a governing body that ignores actual race related issues.


For some examples illustrating the frustration felt by many, we need look no further than an incident that occured just last year. 


In 2023, Mi’kmaw leaders from around the province urged the New Brunswick government to rename 7 locations around the province – locations that currently bear a name that is used as a racist and misogynistic slur against indigenous women. How did the government respond, you may ask? They responded by changing the names of just two locations due to their “$8,000 budget.” Which many find upsetting and disrespectful.


Beyond this example there was a survey taken by The New Brunswick Multicultural Council in February of 2021 to determine how big of an issue racism was in New Brunswick.


The survey asked questions based on both experiences of systemic and unconscious racism. The results found that 95% of respondents believe that racism exists within New Brunswick whilst 83.6% report to have experienced it first hand.


Chief Allan Polchies of Saint Mary’s First Nation spoke about that hardships that his community experiences every day when it comes to racism stating:


“They are targeted, they are profiled and I think that we as Indigenous people, especially Wolastoqey people, are so hospitable and caring and we’re a stewardess of mother earth. So, we carry those values a little differently than non-Indigenous people.”


Other statistics from this survey report that 71% of respondents believe racism to be a systemic issue throughout the province.


Husoni Raymond of the New Brunswick Multicultural council had this to say regarding the survey:


“We’re hoping that the government will use this data to see that there is an issue of racism within the province and in consultation with grassroots community organizations develop an antiracism strategy with a path forward on how to achieve meaningful inclusion.”


Whilst “International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination” is not nothing, it refuses to provide any meaningful solution to the issue at hand. Actions speak louder than words and this current solution will do nothing but distract from the fact that not nearly enough work is being done to support minority groups within our province.

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