Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Dr. Manju Varma is commissioner on systemic racism in N.B. (Image: Submitted/GNB)

Lots Of Division & Hate In N.B. – Commissioner

By Allan Dearing Dec 16, 2022 | 4:21 PM

The commissioner examining systemic racism in New Brunswick released her final report on Friday afternoon which included 86 recommendations – 29 addressing the Indigenous population.

Manju Varma said it was difficult to hear the traumatic and racist experiences of so many people.

“We heard hundreds of stories from people such as a seven-year-old child who was chased off a playground, while adults stood around and pretended not to notice, or the senior citizen who had her hijab yanked while she was at the grocery store.”

Varma said she found a lot of division and hate during the course of her work.

“The trucker convoy and the ties to white supremacy, the invasion of Ukraine, the growth of extremist groups and online hate, and the rise of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism – just to name a few.”

Here are some of the report’s key recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1 – Educate GNB senior leaders and elected officials on the meaning of systemic racism.
  • Recommendation 3 – Provide further financial support and leadership to the Diversity and Inclusion teams, Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer.
  • Recommendation 4 – A clear strategic plan to combat hate and discrimination in New Brunswick, including online hate.
  • Recommendation 5 – Develop an anti-racism policy and mandate that all workplaces adhere to this policy.
  • Recommendation 6 – Demonstrate GNB’s commitment to fighting systemic racism by creating a body and lead person at a commissioner or deputy minister level empowered with overseeing the dismantling of systemic racism.
  • Recommendation 10 – Address challenges faced by the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission (NBHRC).
  • Recommendation 13 – Revamp, simplify and coordinate services for newcomers.
  • Recommendation 16 – Mandate self-regulated professional bodies to make their recognition of international credentials simple and equitable.
  • Recommendation 17 – Create public education initiatives to decrease the divide between Francophone and Anglophone communities.
  • Recommendation 18 – Mandate to collect race-based data in health care.
  • Recommendation 27 – Mandate anti-racism perspectives into the School Improvement Plan.
  • Recommendation 43 – Mandate all sports organizations to have an anti-racism policy.
  • Recommendation 47 – A task force focused on dismantling systemic racism in
    New Brunswick policing.
  • Recommendation 57 – Rescind the directive restricting land acknowledgements.
  • Recommendation 61 – Remove racist terms from identified New Brunswick locations.
  • Recommendation 62 – Provide unprecedented effort to revitalize and protect Indigenous languages of the Mi’kmaw, Wolastoqey and Peskotomuhkati.

Varma noted her concern this report could end up like others and sit on a shelf which she said was echoed repeatedly by participants of all backgrounds.

However, she strongly suggested the province provide New Brunswickers with a quarterly update on the progress in implementing the recommendations.

Varma admitted she and her family have received threats which is why she only invited the media to the release of today’s report.

In September 2021, the provincial government announced it would fund the costs related to establishing the commissioner and her work which was estimated at $500,000.

“I thank the commissioner for the dedication she has shown throughout her mandate to meet with individuals, organizations and communities,” said Premier Blaine Higgs.

“If we want this province to be truly welcoming, inclusive and supportive of equal opportunity, this report will be a valuable guide. We will take time to review the report and its recommendations to determine what steps will be taken next.”


Leave a Reply