Acadians and African Nova Scotians are being asked for their insights, aspirations and recommendations on how they can be more effectively represented in our electoral system.
Starting next week, the independent Commission on Effective Electoral Representation of Acadian and African Nova Scotians will be holding public engagement sessions in communities across the province for the next four weeks.
The first meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, in Shelburne at the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, 119 Old Birchtown Rd. The final one is scheduled for Oct. 4 at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Halifax, Dartmouth North site, 60 Farrell St. In all, the commission will hold 13 public engagement sessions.
“The commission is dedicated to engaging with Acadians and African Nova Scotians, actively listening, reflecting, and then providing our best advice on effective electoral representation,” said Doug Keefe, chair of the commission. “It is good for democracy, society, the economy, businesses, and all our communities. As the Supreme Court of Canada has said, effective representation enhances the community as a whole.
“In addition to what needs improvement, we want to hear what is working. We want to build on successes, positive approaches, and examples of effective representation of all kinds.”
Mr. Keefe is an independent consultant and former deputy minister of Justice with the Province of Nova Scotia. He is joined on the commission by Sharon Davis-Murdoch and Kenneth Deveau.
Ms. Davis-Murdoch is co-president of the Health Association of African Canadians and the health lead for the Local Immigrant Partnership. A social justice champion, she was a public servant for more than 20 years and led the development of the first Provincial Guidelines for Culturally Competent, Primary Health Care.
Mr. Deveau is a vice-president at Université Sainte-Anne. He has done extensive research on the vitality of Acadian and francophone minority communities in Canada and has authored more than 40 publications on the subject.
The commission will file its report with the government by Nov. 1. The report and recommendations will inform the next Electoral Boundaries Commission, expected to be established by government early in the new year.
The full list of public engagement meetings and locations can be found on the commission website at https://novascotia.ca/representation as well as its Facebook page http://facebook.com/CEERAANS and Twitter feed @CEERAANS.
In addition to the public meetings and social media activity, anyone interested in participating can submit a brief or comments directly to the commission by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . The mailing address is:
Commission on Effective Electoral Representation for Acadian and African Nova Scotians
P.O. Box 2125
Halifax, NS B3J 3B7
People can also leave a message at the toll-free number: 1-844-868-0233.