New initiative encouraging Black involvement in Sask. politics

News source from CTV News

REGINA —
A first-of-its-kind initiative is pushing for more Black Canadians in western and northern Canada to run for office, with the possibility of a federal election on the horizon.

“We have something like two fifths of the black population in Canada but we have less than 1/5 of the candidates that run. We think that there’d a particular need here for us to kind of serve and to focus on,” Petros Kusmu, the Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter Canada said.

In last November’s election, Juliet Bushi was the first Black woman elected as a School Board Trustee in the Regina Catholic School Division.

A lack of Black representation in all levels of Saskatchewan government is what inspired her to get involved.

“It is very important for children, for everybody to see themselves represented, especially in politics, and also in tables where decisions are made,” Juliet Bushi, the Saskatchewan representative and co-founder of Black Voters Matter Canada, said.

In the last federal election there were less than 0.01 percent of Black candidates running in Saskatchewan, according to Black Voters Matter Canada

“You see a lot of the parties say the same thing over and over again and you’re really tuning into hear them point at something you’re really dealing with and you don’t hear those things.” Bushi said. “So it is discouraging because you don’t really know who to vote for.”

Throughout March, Black Voters Matter Canada west and north is hosting online forums with Black politicians from all federal parties to talk about their experiences and challenges.

“Giving them direct face time with Black members of parliament’s volunteers organizers to shed some light about dented demystify the process of seeking a nomination of, you know, what are some pro tips to run a successful campaign. In the hopes that we can get way more candidates, you know, just in-case an election is called,” Kusmu said.

While the focus is on getting more awareness and people involved, the group is trying to inspire the next generation of Black voters and politicians in Canada.

“We may not see a candidate, next time, but it’s again giving people that idea as well, planting that seed in their mind, and as well as where they can see themselves in the future and know that we have a community here that can support that,” Bushi said.

Black Voters Matter Canada will host a Black Women in Politics Panel Discussion on March 21.





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