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Legault Does A 180 & Now Says Anti-Racism Policies Are Coming To Quebec

He continues to say Quebecers "aren't racist," however.
Staff Writer
Legault Does A 180 & Now Says Anti-Racism Policies Are Coming To Quebec

Despite claiming that there's no systemic racism in Quebec, Premier François Legault said that anti-racism policies are coming to the province. At Monday's press conference, the premier said that "in Quebec, we had a Quiet Revolution and [he thinks] we're due for a Quiet Evolution in the province. We'll prepare and consult with experts to make policies against racism." 

Last week, however, although he assured he was "standing in solidarity with people who denounce racial violence," the premier claimed that he doesn't believe systemic racism exists in the province.

"The vast majority of Quebecers are not racist," said Legault.

"There's some discrimination in Quebec, but there's no systemic discrimination." 

Legault's comments prompted a fierce outcry from both the public and experts on racial issues, accusing the premier of being out of touch with and downplaying the reality of systemic racism. 

Marie-Livia Beaugé, a criminal lawyer and project coordinator at Hoodstock, disagrees with the premier and says that he fundamentally misunderstands systemic racism. 

In an interview with MTL Blog, Beaugé said that "Legault doesn't understand because he said he doesn't accept that people are racist. If you don't accept that people are racist, it's systemic racism."

Though the province has yet to officially mandate anti-racism policies, previous studies suggest Legault's comments are far out of touch with what's been happening in the province.

Last year, an SPVM report on racial profiling revealed that black and indigenous Montrealers are five times more likely to be stopped by a police officer.

An ongoing lawsuit against the City of Montreal dating back to 2017 says that police officers wrongfully detained a black man and restrained him with a knee to the neck, similar to George Floyd's killing. 

Again in 2017, the Government of Quebec cancelled a consultation on systemic racism in the province and replaced it with a forum on enhancing diversity, focused on immigration.

The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse said that "systemic discrimination and racism, particularly in the areas of housing, health, social services, justice, public safety, education, culture and the media, remain within Québec society and concrete solutions must be found." 

In 1995, Jacques Parizeau, the premier at the time, blamed "money and the ethnic vote" for losing the referendum to separate from Canada.

The issues of systemic racism in Quebec extend far into history and the province mandating anti-racism policies is a step in the right direction. 

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