Couillard concerned by anti-immigration banners
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, August 15, 2017 1:05PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 15, 2017 6:55PM EDT
Premier Philippe Couillard says he is concerned by the presence of anti-immigration banners in Quebec City but does not want to give right-wing groups undue attention.
Various banners carrying the word REMIGRATION were put up Monday, including one on an overpass on a busy thoroughfare in the provincial capital.
An extremist right-wing group called La Meute (or wolf pack) is also organizing a demonstration in Quebec City on Sunday to denounce the attitudes of the federal and Quebec governments toward immigration. The event will be held at the same time as a pro-refugee rally.
La Meute did not return CTV Montreal’s request for an interview. The anti-Muslim, anti-immigration group’s hidden Facebook page has over 43,000 followers.
Couillard said Tuesday such groups are part of society and that freedom of expression allows people to utter what he called "stupidities."
The premier says his role and that of other people is to respond with measured comments that are based on compassion, wisdom and the truth.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre took a harder line, saying, “I don't have any time to waste for any kind of fascism or things from the far right. Our role is to protect our citizens and make sure we're fighting against any kind of discrimination.”
The arrival of hundreds and hundreds of asylum seekers in Quebec from the United States in recent weeks has fuelled heated political debate in the province.
The events in Charlottesville over the weekend are also putting the racist views in the spotlight.
“For better or worse, whatever happens in the US often has an impact here and for the worst in this instance,” said Concordia University political scientist Graham Dodds. “As far as these groups seem emboldened in the US, it's not surprising that they would be emboldened here.”
On Canada Day, La Meute and another group called Storm Alliance held a protest on Roxham Rd., a popular site for asylum seekers to cross the border into Canada.
“This conservative, alt-right, right-wing, racist phenomenon is often driven by immigration,” said Dodds.
The federal government estimates that 12,000 asylum seekers will come to Canada by the end of the year.
Coderre said Montreal is a sanctuary city.
“Montrealers think that diversity is an added value. We're in a progressive country. We're all part of the solution,” he said.
With a report from CTV Montreal