Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says she is ready to act on a report released Monday that says the city has turned a “blind eye” to systemic racism and discrimination in police and city administration.
“I want you to know that Montreal is a city where every Montrealer is entitled to have their dignity respected,” she said at a news conference following the report’s release.
“I’m firmly committed to implementing systemic solutions to these systemic problems, without delay because there is no time to lose.”
Plante said she would introduce a motion to “formally recognize” systemic racism, appoint a commissioner to counter racism, hire more minorities to public posts and improve accountability among the Montreal police service.
The report by the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM), concluded the city has “neglected” the fight against racism and discrimination and does not recognize the systemic nature of the problem.
It calls for 38 measures to combat–among other things–racial profiling, boost the hiring and promotion of minorities and make city politics more representative of the city’s demographic reality.
The city’s approach to issues of race and discrimination, the OCPM found, “turns a blind eye to the debate regarding the relationship of power between majority and minority groups.”
As a consequence, “the city does not question its policies and practices, nor its role in the production and perpetuation of inequalities within its various jurisdictions, such as employment and public security.”
The most controversial section of the law, known as Bill 21, bans civil servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols such as a hijab or kippah.
Elsewhere, on the Canadian Prairies, about a 1,000 people gathered in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Saturday, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice No Peace.”
On Sunday, a group in Saskatoon called for defunding the police–saying the police and health systems should be restructured so there are specific services for people with mental health concerns to go to.
As well, anti-racism protesters lined up along the east and west ends of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts early Saturday morning in Vancouver for a rally in support of Black Lives Matter and defunding police forces.
The protesters declined to comment to CBC News, but said the protest was peaceful, and held signs with slogans like “Care Not Cops,” “Support Black Trans Women,” and “Defund VPD.”
With files from CBC News (John MacFarlane, Benjamin Shingler, Morgan Modjeski, Michelle Ghoussoub), RCI