Race & Party Platforms in the Coming Nova Scotia Elections

Panel Discussion

Briefing Note


This event took place on March 11, 2021

Race has always been a defining, and silenced aspect of Nova Scotia politics. Race intersects with gender, class, sovereignty, development, gentrification, and so much more. Join us while we discuss what all provincial parties need to address in their next policy platforms to be taken seriously on the politics of race.

About the Speakers

Dorene Bernard

Dorene Bernard​ is a Mi’kmaq Grassroots Grandmother, Water Protector, Water Walker, and Survivor of the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School.

In 2013 she completed a Master of Social Work (MSW) Aboriginal Field of Study from Laurier University. Her 20 year Social Work career has been in Child Welfare and Community Support in Mi’kmaq communities with Shubenacadie Indian Residential School Survivors. She was the Coady International Institute Chair on Social Justice in 2017, focusing her work in education on Indigenous issues, Treaty Rights, Environmental Racism, Climate Justice and Reconciliation.

Dorene is a volunteer Grassroots Grandmother in social justice work, child welfare, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, promoting cultural teachings about the Sacredness of Water, the Protection of water and Water Walk ceremonies.

Aruna Dhara

Arundhati Dhara (Aruna) is a family physician in Mi'kma'ki with both inpatient and outpatient practices. She also works with the Dalhousie medical school and trainees teaching advocacy. 

Her writing focuses on the intersection of identity politics and medicine, and what it means to provide care. Together with colleagues, she started The Third Rail, a section of the Canadian Family Physician dedicated to talking about justice-oriented topics in medicine and health care. 

El Jones

El Jones is a spoken word poet, educator, journalist, and community activist living in African Nova Scotia. She was the fifth Poet Laureate of Halifax. In 2016, El was a recipient of the Burnley "Rocky" Jones human rights award for her community work and work in prison justice.

She is a co-founder of the Black Power Hour, a live radio show with incarcerated people on CKDU that creates space for people inside to share their creative work and discuss contemporary social and political issues. El was appointed the Nancy's Chair of Women's Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University for the 2017-2019 term. She is a winner of two Atlantic Journalism gold awards in 2018 and 2019.

Her book of spoken word poetry, Live from the Afrikan Resistance! was published by Roseway Press in 2014. El would like to pay tribute to the many nameless and unrecognized women whose work makes it possible for her to be here today.

Lynn Jones

Lynn Jones is a proud African Canadian born and raised in Truro, Nova Scotia. Her Nova Scotia roots span several generations, making her one of several Indigenous African Nova Scotians residing here over 400 years. She is a pan Africanist whose travel takes her across many countries in her ancestral home on the continent of Africa. 

Being employed as a Federal Public Service employee for over 30 years coupled with her extensive experience in the Canadian labour movement enabled Lynn to be a social Justice leader in areas many Black people had never ventured before. This includes being the first Black General Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress and National Vice-President of the Canada Employment and Immigration Union. Lynn leveraged her community and labour background to become the first Canadian born African women to seek office in a federal election in Canada. Jones is the recipient of the Queen’s Medal and chair of the Global African Congress Nova Scotia Chapter, an organization which seeks reparations for the atrocities of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Lynn has been in the vanguard of the fight for fair labour practises for many years including most recently the joint campaign "fight for $15" which attempts to win an increase in the minimum wage for all workers. Lynn recently donated over 50 years of personal archival material on the Black local, national and international community to the St Mary’s University Library and archives where it is now housed as "The Lynn Jones African Canadian and Diaspora Heritage Collection." 

Ajay Parasram (moderator)

Ajay Parasram is a Founding Fellow at the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance and cross-appointed to the departments of International Development Studies, History, and Political Science at Dalhousie University.

His research investigates various aspects of the "colonial present," including state theory, structural white supremacy, and racial justice.