At this hour, fire chief Bill Mosher is speaking with the Halifax Regional Council in a closed-door secret meeting. Mosher was summoned to council after councillor Sue Uteck learned that a human rights complaint has been filed against the Halifax department of Fire and Emergency Services.
I've been working on this story exclusively for a week, and my questions to various councillors, city staff, firefighters, former firefighters and human rights investigators has no doubt prompted discussion of the issue, leading to Uteck's interest.
My full account of the complaint and the history of racism in the fire department, running 3,500 words, will run in Thursday's paper (and likely in this space tomorrow).
In the meanwhile, a short teaser:
Human Rights Complaint rocks Halifax Fire Department
by Tim Bousquet, news editor, The Coast
Disappointed with the results of an HRM-sponsored investigation into alleged racist activity within the Halifax fire department, a group of black firefighters is pressing forward with a complaint to the provincial Human Rights Commission.
The allegations, which are set forth in a series of documents provided to The Coast, include:
Of even greater concern than those specific incidents, say black firefighters interviewed for this article, is a tepid and inconsequential response to the incidents on the part of fire department management.
Fire department management did investigate several of the allegations, but these investigations have gone nowhere, reads the preamble to The Struggle for Acceptance: The Black Experience in Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency, a 15-page document with supporting evidence that was presented to the Human Rights Commission by the Halifax Association of Black Fire Fighters.
The results [of the investigations] have not been published, there has not been any follow up and this leaves us with no closure, continues The Struggle. As a result, we are left to question both the integrity and sincerity of these or any future investigations.
Check back Wednesday for more information, and the full, exclusive report.