As part of Black History Month, CAPE interviewed Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada. She provided her perspective of being the first Black person to lead a major federal political party in Canada and the challenges she faced along the way, what she thinks needs to be done to address anti-Black racism in the federal public service, what this year's Black History Month theme “The Future is Now” means to her and more.
1) According to the 2019 Public Service Employee Survey, “more than 15% of Black public service employees experienced racial discrimination in the workplace.” What do you think needs to be done to address anti-Black racism in the workplace in the federal public service?
Annamie Paul: I think it has to start at the top. When we see Black, Indigenous and racialized people, as well as people from all religions, serving in the highest ranks of our government and other powerful institutions, that will begin to be reflected in all workplaces. It is also critical to have diverse representation at all levels of decision making because that provides us with a variety of points of view, interests and values.
We must recognize that systemic racism exists at the core of many of our public institutions including those of education, health and public safety. Once we acknowledge this, then we can begin to address the issue within each branch of public service. The public service must track outcomes for Black employees and develop systems with greater accountability. Another important piece is the need for disaggregated data to be able to identify trends, and better data collection overall to understand the pervasiveness of racism and the ways in which it is experienced – only then can we measure whether any real progress is being made.
2) The President of the Treasury Board’s Supplementary Mandate Letter released on January 15th, 2021 tasks him, amongst other things, “to develop and implement an action plan to increase the representation of women, Black and racialized Canadians, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples and LGBTQ2 Canadians in hiring, appointments and leadership development within the Public Service.” Why is this important and how can it be done efficiently?
A. Paul: Society is best served by public managers, policy makers, and community leaders who represent diverse backgrounds and perspectives as it produces better public policy outcomes. We need more diverse representation at all levels and in all areas of public service, and it will be important to...To continue reading, please click here to download the PDF.