City vows to curb racial profiling
Published Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:23PM EST
MONTREAL - With the Montreal police long dogged by accusations of racial profiling, Mayor Gérald Tremblay announced the creation of a new committee on Tuesday to curb profiling at all levels of municipal governance.
"The fight against racial and social profiling is a major stake for our administration and all municipal areas share in our efforts to end such profiling," Tremblay said in a statement.
Marc Parent, director of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, said the new plan for his department is one of the most progressive in Canada. Officers will face consequences as serious as dismissal for offences.
"Stronger organizational values are very important to give police officers the guidelines and principles necessary to use when they intervene," said Parent, who encouraged victims of profiling to speak out.
"They need to take control and understand that this issue is ongoing and they need to adapt to it," said Joel DeBellefeuille, who was involved in an incident of alleged racial profiling when he was pulled over by police in 2009.
With the announcement the day following Martin Luther King Day, Tremblay was quick to point out that the human element would be the hardest one to change.
"Nothing is perfect, we are talking about human beings and when we are talking about human beings, sometimes there can be behaviours that aren't acceptable," said Tremblay.
The Société de transport de Montréal, one of the main partners in the committee, will continue to make efforts to create a more diverse workforce.
With elected officials, the Montreal police and the Montreal transit department, the committee will target six areas:
• Public security,
• Public spaces,
• Human resources training,
• Social development,
• The fight against poverty.
Last year, the Quebec Human Rights Commission made 90 recommendations for removing all forms of racial profiling from the province's institutions, including the education system and police forces.
Some of the commission's key recommendations included having visible minorities at all levels of government, initiate anti-poverty programs and conducting racial sensitivity training for future teachers and police officers.
It also suggested creating an independent body to investigate police shootings to replace the current practice of handing it over to another police force.
Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay speaks at a press conference in Montreal, Monday, April 11, 2011, (Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Montreal police chief Marc Parent talks to reporters after one year of being in charge (Oct. 5, 2011)