Jamaican Cultural Association wants official apology from Smith-McCrossin

Community group met with the Tory leadership candidate to “express their personal experiences and frustrations” about her recent cannabis comments.

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The Jamaican Cultural Association of Nova Scotia wants an official apology on the floor of the Legislature from Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin.

A press release from the not-for-profit says JCANS representatives recently met with the Cumberland North MLA about her comments that legalizing cannabis could make Nova Scotia unproductive like Jamaica.

During a debate on Nova Scotia's new Cannabis Control Act last month, Smith-McCrossin told Province House her friend from Jamaica warned her there's "very low productivity" in the island country due to smoking marijuana.

“I think we already have a productivity problem here in Nova Scotia,” Smith-McCrossin said. “We do not need something else making it worse.”

The comments drew harsh condemnation and the Progressive Conservative leadership candidate quickly offered extended apologies stating she “needs to do better.”

Advocates from JCANS say they've now met with Smith-McCrossin to discuss the distress her comments caused Nova Scotia's Caribbean community.

“The meeting was by mutual agreement so many Jamaicans could express their personal experiences and frustrations in hearing the inappropriate comments made by Smith-McCrossin as an elected official,” reads Tuesday's release.

Once again the MLA apologized for her comments.

“JCANS then went on to educate Smith-McCrossin on the requirements of an apology noting that it is meaningless to simply state an apology but a true apology mixes those words with appropriate actions. ”

On that front, the association is asking Smith-McCrossin for a formal apology to be given on the floor of the Legislature, as well as diversity training for “herself and her colleagues.”

The group is also asking for a commitment from the MLA to actively support programs for the Jamaican community in Nova Scotia and to help spread awareness of the contributions made by Caribbean people to the province’s social and economic development.

“JCANS hopes this event can educate many about Jamaican history and culture and await a response from Smith-McCrossin by the middle of May as agreed to at the meeting.”

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