Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin – Screenshot via Youtube

A politician in the Canadian maritime province of Nova Scotia has sparked widespread outcry after making controversial remarks about Jamaicans.

MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin made the comments earlier this week during a debate in the legislature regarding Nova Scotia’s Cannabis Control Act.

Canada is reportedly set to legalise marijuana by the end of the summer and decision makers in Nova Scotia are currently mulling over methods regarding how recreational cannabis will be sold in the province.

Smith-McCrossin said:

“I worry for the future of our province and our country. I grew up surrounded by hard-working people who were clear-minded, sober, and productive. I have a best friend in Amherst who is from Jamaica.

“She said to me, Elizabeth, smoking marijuana in Jamaica is completely accepted, and there’s a completely different work ethic and very low productivity in Jamaica. I think we already have a productivity problem here in Nova Scotia. We do not need something else making it worse.”

Many persons subsequently labelled her comments “racist” which apparently prompted her to apologise. 

She later said the following in a Facebook post:

“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 registered 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.”

Smith-McCrossin represents the electoral district of Cumberland North and is currently running for leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives.

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A politician in the Canadian maritime province of Nova Scotia has sparked widespread outcry after making controversial remarks about Jamaicans. MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin made the comments earlier this week during a debate in the legislature regarding Nova Scotia’s Cannabis Control Act. Canada is reportedly set to legalise marijuana by the end...

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