PQ says systemic racism hearings will cost too much, divide Quebecers
Published Tuesday, September 26, 2017 6:46PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 27, 2017 8:09AM EDT
The Parti Quebecois thinks upcoming hearings about systemic racism in Quebec are a waste of time and money.
Throughout question period and in scrums in the National Assembly, multiple PQ MNAs said that nothing positive will come from an examination of the issue -- and that nobody is interested.
Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil, the Liberal government's point person on the subject, said once again that the hearings into systems and policies that discriminate -- either intentionally or accidentally -- against non-white, non-francophone Quebecers will proceed.
"Totally. Totally. I think what upsets them is the interest," said Weil, saying her opponents were grasping at straws.
On Tuesday the PQ denounced the cost of the inquiry.
"It starts at $500,000, and now the evaluation is almost at $900,000. So we don't know why this increase appears and we are asking the government to justify it," said PQ immigration critic Carole Poirier.
PQ leader Jean-Francis Lisée said he doubted anything good would come from the hearings.
"The government seems determined to organize a consultation that is going to taint public debate," said Lisée in the House.
Premier Philippe Couillard said Lisée seemed scared.
"Let the people talk. What is he afraid of?" said Couillard.
PQ secularism critic Agnes Maltais also took aim at the Muslim Canadian Federation and Canadian Muslim Forum, two of the groups chosen to lead local consultations.
Maltais said those groups are not neutral and should not be given a leading role in the hearings.
"Two of these groups have said many times that trying to legislate on covered faces is Islamophobic. So it seems that the separation between church and the state is not good for them," said Maltais.
Despite the opposition, the consultations are slated to continue throughout the fall with recommendations due at the end of the process and a government action plan to come in the spring.