"As such, we want to encourage everyone to approach September 30 as a day of action. Reflection is not enough - participating, listening and supporting Indigenous people, who are still reeling from the multi-generational trauma of residential school, is a proactive stance to commemorate this day."
Many people at the march wore orange shirts, a symbol of truth and reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots movement that commemorated residential schools and honoured their survivors, was the precursor to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and some people still refer to it by its original name.
"Joyce Echaquan lost her life because somebody thought she didn't matter," said Ellen Gabriel, a Mohawk activist and artist from Kanehsatà:ke Nation, addressing the crowd. "Don't make this the last demonstration you come to. Don't make this the last thing you do for those children who never came home."
A collective of coffee shops and community organizers is inviting all cyclists to join them for a Montreal bike protest to celebrate the milestone of over one million cyclists on the Réseau Express Vélo (REV). The group is also calling on the city to keep the controversial REV paths on rue Bellechasse and expand the network even further.
"We are celebrating hundreds of lives protected, thousands of healthier people, tons of GHGs avoided, all those happy school children and all the happiness we have had in the last year!" event organizer Jacques Nacouzi exclaimed in a statement shared with MTL Blog.
Cyclists are asked to meet up at Carré Saint-Louis in the Plateau at 11 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, October 23.
From there, the protest will move north along the REV Saint-Denis before hitting the REV Bellechasse moving east. The protest will end when the group circles back to rue Saint-Denis.
With a mayoral election in Montreal just around the corner, cycling advocates are concerned about the REV Bellechasse.
The project has been criticized by Ensemble Montréal with Denis Coderre pledging to remove part of the bike path on Bellechasse to add more parking spots if he's elected.
The REV is a key accomplishment of Mayor Valérie Plante's administration.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
The report recommended that Quebec acknowledge systemic racism. It also said racism and prejudice played a role in Echaquan's death.
"The only place where I don't agree is when we say that there's a 'system' because for me a 'system' is coming from upstairs, coming from the top people, and I don't see this in the health care network, for example," Legault said at a press conference on Tuesday, following the release of the coroner's report.
"What happened to Mrs. Echaquan is terrible [...] and few employees, not only one, didn't deliver the right services to her."
He reiterated that people who believe in systemic racism in Quebec don't have the same definition that he does.
"We don't have a system [of racism], top to bottom, and it's a question of fact," he said.
He emphasized the need to "stop dividing Quebecers" with arguments about systemic racism.
"Even [the coroner who wrote the report] Mrs. Kahmel, she's saying that we have not to put all the emphasis only on words. We have to put emphasis on actions to change the situation and, on that, I fully agree," said Legault.
"I'm not sure what it's like to see your daughter, your sister, your mother, your friend, your lover disappear from one day to the next without a trace. And on top of that, to have the impression that your government doesn't really care, or at least not enough. No one should have to go through that in Quebec," Legault continued.
"I'm convinced that the vast majority of Quebecers are ready to fight racism."