Fredericton passes anti-discrimination motion but multicultural group wants to see action

The City of Fredericton is taking a stand against all forms of prejudice.

Council approved a motion Monday night to make an official declaration the city won’t tolerate any type of discrimination.

“New Brunswickers may think they are not discriminatory but when you unpack and look under the hood, you see that we have certain policies in place or barriers for people to access our services and to feel fully included in our community,” said Alex LeBlanc, the director of  the New Brunswick Multicultural Council Executive.

“It’s about a whole bunch of discrimination: it’s about age, it’s about sex, it’s about where you come from, it’s about how much money you don’t have, how much money you do have,” said councillor Eric Megarity.

Megarity says the city is the guardian of public interest and taking a vocal stance against discrimination will let potential newcomers know New Brunswick welcomes everyone as they are.

“Just think about what you say before those words get off your lips, or those words get off the pen to the paper,” said Megarity.

City council passed the anti-discrimination motion after a brief discussion.

However, the Multicultural Association of Fredericton wants to see tangible action in addition to the verbal proclamation.

“We hope that the next step forward is to look at programs and policies, ensure that these are in place to sort of reinforce this really strong proclamation that the city has made,” said Joanne Owuor, the director of the Multicultural Association of Fredericton Settlement Services.

The provincial multicultural council agrees and say the proclamation should be mirrored in cities across New Brunswick

“What we would love to see is that these are not static policies but they are practices, they are ongoing processes where we exercise and reflect on how we are doing, we check in with different minority groups and find out do they feel included, are they accessing our services?” said LeBlanc.

The city doesn’t have any plans for policies or programs yet, but Megarity says it is a work in progress.

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