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Legault Says He Has A Different Definition Of Systemic Racism Than Others

The CAQ sets up an anti-racism action group, but Legault believes "there's no systemic racism in Quebec."
Contributing Writer
Legault Says He Has A Different Definition Of Systemic Racism Than Others

Premier François Legault is standing by his argument that "there's no systemic racism in Quebec." During the government's press conference on June 15, it was announced that the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) is setting up an "action group" that will "develop a series of effective actions to combat racism." The group will look into all sectors where racism exists in the province, from employment to education.

The two ministers leading this anti-racism task force are Nadine Girault, the Minister of International Relations, and Lionel Carmant, the Minister for Health and Social Services.

The plan for this group is to rapidly identify the main problems regarding race in Quebec while considering the realities that people of visible minorities face, and then to create concrete solutions within three months.

"I'm a guy who would like to see action before Christmas," Legault said.

During this same conference, the premier repeated various times that he fails to believe that systemic racism exists within Quebec, although empirical reports have proven otherwise, and the scholars in the field assert that it does. 

But, Legault admits that racism remains a deep issue in the province.

François Legault firmly believes there are two groups of thought when it comes to defining systemic racism in Quebec [i.e., one group would define the racism as individually-driven and personal, the other as entrenched in economic and justice systems]. He stated that the two both acknowledge the existence of racism in the province.

At about 53 minutes into the conference, the premier provides his definition of systemic racism, which is "that there's a system in Quebec of racism, and [he doesn't] think there's a system."

"I know there are some people who believe that 'systemic' means something else."

The premier believes we should work within two consensuses: one, that "the vast majority of Quebecers are not racist," but two "that there is racism in Quebec."

"Why do we have to fight for months about one word, instead of fighting together against racism?" he questions.

In opposition to Legault's belief about the subject, Mayor Valérie Plante has contended that systemic racism exists in Montreal.

And believes to solve such an issue, one must recognize it for what it is.

Legault remains adamant about the fact that "we can't tolerate racism in Quebec anymore," and says there's a lot of work to do.

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