Source: BC Legislature

A British Columbia NDP MLA is trying to get taxpayers to fund a no-whites-allowed committee to “eliminate systemic racism.”

MLA Niki Sharma has proposed the creation of a “racialized” committee under Bill 23, the Anti-Racism Act. If passed, the committee would create a framework for the province to combat racism.

All members of the Provincial Committee on Anti-Racism, under the bill, would have to be “racialized” and “have expertise in working to eliminate systemic racism and advance racial equity.”

Taxpayers will fund their work and will reimburse the racially exclusive committee for “reasonable” travel and out of pocket expenses.

The committee would have at least two individuals who represent organizations which support “racialized individuals or communities,” two who have “expertise in systems thinking theory and practice,” and two who have experience in the development and delivery of anti-racism training curricula.

If passed, Bill 23 will make the provincial government create an anti-racism action plan in collaboration with this committee which is meant to root out “systemic racism and systemic racism specific to indigenous people,” all while advancing racial equity.

The bill repeatedly distinguishes systemic racism from systemic racism specific to indigenous peoples, which they are working towards eliminating too.

The action plan developed by the government and this committee would set standards, targets and measurable indicators of the success for other state-run anti-racism initiatives.

The B.C. government defines racial equity as “the idea that nobody should face barriers or discrimination because of their race.”

The provincial government website says it is “working towards racial equity means addressing the root cause of the issue. This includes changing any policies or programs that further existing inequities to deliver better outcomes for everyone.”

The provincial government distinguishes equality, which it defines as everyone being treated the same way, from equity.

According to the government, “equity recognizes that we are not starting at the same place and seeks to address these imbalances.”

The province established another anti-racism committee with the Anti-Racism Data Act which became law in 2022.  A majority of members in the committee created by this act have to be “racialized.”

The Anti-Racism Data Act enables the B.C. government to collect demographic data such as ethnicity, faith, ancestry, disabilities, and gender identity to identify disparities and barriers faced by Indigenous and “racialized” people when assessing government programs.

Neither the bill nor the government has defined the term racialized, but it is widely understood to refer to people with a racial or ethnic identity other than white

When reached for comment, someone in Sharma’s office told True North a response would be forthcoming but ultimately never provided one

A representative of the B.C. Conservatives called the act divisive despite being “masked by terminology that seems well intentioned.”

“It is regressive for our society to hire people solely based on their skin colour,” the spokesperson said in an email to True North. “This sets a precedent that takes us back to a darker time in our history, instead of living up to the ideal of Martin Luther King Jr. and other figures who aspired toward a society where we judge each other on the merits of our character, rather than our skin colour.”

The B.C. Conservative spokesperson said the bill will “only disenfranchise and divide people even further.”

“We need to unite behind our common humanity and shared values of freedom and prosperity for all.”