Premier Stephen McNeil proclaimed today, March 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Nova Scotia, as part of the United Nations event for people around the world to take a stand against racism, discrimination, prejudice and intolerance. “Nova Scotia will only be the best province it can be if we work together to ensure all Nova Scotians are treated with dignity, equality and respect while having access to the opportunities our province has to offer,” said Premier McNeil, who is also the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. “From our commitment to the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children Restorative Inquiry to enhanced treaty education, from ensuring more Nova Scotians see themselves reflected in our institutions to making our province a welcoming place for all, we are working to eliminate discrimination.” Tony Ince, Minister of the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs, said the addition of $710,000 in this year’s provincial budget is a significant step forward. “I am pleased to say we are taking action to strengthen the office and step up the important and essential work we carry out across the province. There are significant issues facing African Nova Scotians. “This investment represents an increased commitment to ensure we better address those issues and meet the needs of African Nova Scotians, while advancing our work to address systemic racism and discrimination.” New program funding will be invested in communities throughout the province. Two new community outreach officer positions will also be created. These positions will help the office extend its reach, especially in rural areas. They will be located in the Annapolis Valley and Pictou-Antigonish areas. “This funding provides an opportunity to enhance access to the skilled workforce and help build capacity in rural areas with the African Nova Scotian community,” said Rustum Southwell, CEO of the Black Business Initiative. “Building a more diverse and inclusive Nova Scotia is a smart economic strategy.” The two new positions are in addition to the two community navigator and one co-ordinator positions the office had previously created to work solely on land title clarification. Strengthening the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs and addressing systemic racism across government and organizations are Culture Action Plan priorities. This year, Communities, Culture and Heritage will also create a new position to co-ordinate the anti-racism work.