Statement on comments during debate in the House of Assembly

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April 19, 2018: Over the past day I have taken time to reflect on the impact of my statement in the legislature. Thank you for all your comments; they have given me a lot to think about.

Please know that my apology is without reservation or qualification; it is from the heart. I recognize that I should have known the implications of what I was saying with that story. That is my mistake and I’m sorry for that.

I am not as knowledgeable about racism as I should be. As an elected official and as someone who aspires to a leadership role, particularly in a province like Nova Scotia where racism persists to this day, I need to do better. I want to learn from other perspectives. I will therefore be spending some time meeting with, and learning from people who have deeper insights in this area.

A number of individuals have reached out to help and to suggest ways I could do this. They have my thanks and I look forward to taking them up on their offers.

I will never be perfect, but I will always strive to learn and to take ownership of my mistakes. I care deeply about the people of this province and I will work hard every day to make this province healthier, richer, more open, kind and fair.

 

April 18, 2018: 

On April 17, 2018, I made some comments during debate on the government’s Cannabis Act that were criticized as racist and insensitive. I am sorry if my comments were hurtful. Had I known that this statement would have caused offense, I would never have made it. These comments do not reflect the views of either the interim leader of the PC Party of Nova Scotia or my caucus colleagues.

As a nurse, I have strong views about the public health impact of excessive cannabis use. These concerns have been highlighted elsewhere by former Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan in her Task Force Report to the Government
of Canada, the Canadian Medical Association and Doctors Nova Scotia.

My comments came about as a result of a conversation I had with a friend of mine who is a woman of colour originally from Jamaica. I made a mistake in my choice of words in the House of Assembly and take full responsibility for that. I would have said the same about the impact of heavy cannabis use on any country, but because of this particular conversation, it happened to be Jamaica. I sincerely did not feel that my comments would be viewed in a negative light, but I was wrong.

Again, I apologize for my choice of words and any impression left that this was based on someone’s country, race or ethnicity. I am certainly open to meeting individually
with anyone offended by these comments to better appreciate their perspective and ensure my words are better chosen in future.

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