During a parliamentary debate on Tuesday, June 1, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet explained what he thinks of the term "systemic racism" following a question from Winnipeg MP Leah Gazan about whether or not he acknowledges that systemic racism against Indigenous people exists.
Blanchet said that he "acknowledged the existence of systemic racism" in June 2020 but that he rejects "the extreme and often focused politicization of the term."
What happened in Indian Residential Schools and what continues to happen to Indigenous peoples is genocide. Full… https://t.co/vdHhusvdBE— Leah ProudLakota (she/her) (@Leah ProudLakota (she/her)) 1622591570.0
Gazan's question cited the case of Joyce Echaquan, the Atikamekw mother of seven who was subject to racist taunts from members of the nursing staff of a Quebec hospital and passed away soon after, as "an example of how systemic racism resulted in death."
Blanchet said he accepts a definition that "[describes] how institutions, rather than individuals, throughout history have systematically [...] discriminated against communities like the First Nations."
He further insisted that the term has been "turned into a political weapon against the Quebec nation, which may not share certain points of view on Canadian multiculturalism," and that he took "exception to the glorification of the term for political purposes."