Just weeks after Premier Fançois Legault claimed that Islamophobia doesn't exist in Quebec, several hateful comments are being shared across social media platforms showing Legault's comments couldn't be further from the truth.
The comments, seen in a screen capture below, were in response to a terrible house fire that killed seven children in Halifax early Tuesday morning.
TL;DR After a fatal fire in Halifax, several people in Quebec took to the comments section of a TVA article regarding the tragedy to express terribly hateful and Islamophobic sentiments that have since started circulating around the Internet as people express their disbelief and distaste for the hate speech.
TVA published an article about the tragedy yesterday and subsequently shared the news on their Facebook page.
Before long, comments under the article challenged Legault's claim that there is no Islamophobia in Quebec.
This is the original Facebook post, though I took the time to scroll through the 350+ comments this morning and any hate speech has since been deleted.
Though there are still several comments calling out the original commenters, as well as a comment that tags the Quebec police due to the hateful nature of the comments.
The first comment reads: "The comments are awful!!!!!!"
The second: "In the comments to this news, it seems to me that some would be subject to criminal charges of inciting hatred by their comments, what do you think? Do you, or the Police of Quebec who manages these kinds of cases?"
In addition to the hateful comments, many people "reacted" to the Facebook post with laughter.
There was also some criticism directed at TVA for focusing on the nationality and religion of the family which is seemingly secondary to the immense tragedy they just faced.
Particularly off-side was TVA'a lead-in to their article which reads: "The dream of a better life in Canada has gone up in flames for a Syrian family..."
On a more optimistic note, a Go Fund Me campaign has been started for the family and a vigil is planned in Halifax to support the parents as they grieve the loss of their children.
Here's the go fund me for the family, they have already raised over $286,800.00 for the parents. Halifax House Fire Tragedy https://t.co/gApVeWsbov— Cheryl🍁 Sista_Resista ✨🥂✨🇨🇦 #Canada (@mini_bubbly) February 20, 2019
It is clear that there is still a serious case of xenophobia in Quebec, Canada, and perhaps North America as a whole. While it is easy to feel at ease with the current state of affairs because Canada is largely seen as a bastion of multiculturalism and most people aged 18-35 have matured without a racist upbringing, the issue still stands.
And how could we be surprised, with religious symbols being banned so selectively and politicians attempting to sweep these kinds of issues under the rug?
My hope is this situation shows governing bodies that this is an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed and taken seriously. Hate comments like the ones above, that openly and publicly celebrate the death of seven innocent children, should be pursued to the full extent of the law. Don't @ me.