"Stop this battle dividing Quebecers."
Quebec Premier François Legault berated the opposition parties in the National Assembly at a press conference on Wednesday and accused them of trying to score "points" by asking him whether he would accept the Joyce Principle in Quebec.
Legault was also upset that the leaders of the opposition parties, Liberal leader Dominique Anglade and Québec Solidaire spokesperson Gabriel-Nadeau Dubois, brought up the issue of systemic racism at a National Assembly question period when "they are very aware of my position."
The Joyce Principle calls on the Quebec government to "recognize the systemic racism faced by Indigenous people when attempting to access social and health services, particularly in relation to rights of equitable access without discrimination."
Legault has said time and again that he will not recognize systemic racism.
"I'm not the one who tried to link the death of Joyce Echaquan with Bill 21 and Bill 96 and with the fact that we don't recognize there is a system of racism in our networks in Quebec," Legault said Wednesday.
"All Quebecers agree that there is some racism and that we have to fight against that."
Legault also reasserted his position that he doesn't believe there is systemic racism in the province and that assuming so is an "insult to Quebecers."
Anglade, meanwhile, demanded that Legault should apologize for not accepting the fundamental request as presented in the Joyce Principle.
"What we wanted to hear from the premier is whether or not he was in favour of the principle and whether it should be adopted. [...] He did not answer the question, voted against the motion and talked about a different topic. [...] I'm asking Mr. Legault to apologize to the Atikamekw community."
Québec Solidaire spokesperson Manon Massé echoed the Liberal leader's comments, saying that "it's at the center of Joyce's principle, and to withdraw from it as a white person who does not live in this situation — there is something odious about that."
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