Skip to main content

Dan Philip, a pillar of Montreal's Black community, has died


Dan Philip, one of the pillars of Montreal's Black community, has died.

Philip served as president of the Black Coalition of Quebec for over 40 years before retiring in 2020. The coalition confirmed his death Monday on Facebook.

"He represented and exercised leadership that positively changed the face of the Black Coalition for several decades by championing the aspirations of the Black community," the statement read.

A staunch defender of human rights, Philip advocated for the Black community by speaking out against racism and discrimination.

"He has been and remains a source of inspiration and will remain in the collective memory, for his constancy and remarkable patience. Where others would have given up the fight for justice, Dan Philip was determined, convinced that he would carry out his mission to the ultimate sacrifice," the statement continued.

Philip was central to the fight to desegregate the taxi industry in Montreal and he fought to prevent discrimination in the rental market. He also called for more accountability for police brutality against visible minorities, including high-profile cases like the 1987 police shooting death of Anthony Griffin and the 1992 police beating of Richard Barnabé, who died after more than two years in a coma.

The coalition was also vocal in demanding more diversity on Montreal's city council.

Philip received the National Assembly Citizenship Medal for the D'Arcy McGee riding in 2019.

On its website, the Black Coalition of Quebec referred to him as "A passionate man of action… characterized by his fight for the disadvantaged, to ensure that justice prevails everywhere at all times."

Former city councillor Marvin Rotrand, who worked closely with Philip for many years, remembered him as someone who fostered relationships and supported other communities.

"Dan was very human. And he really believed in building bridges between communities. He was literally decades ahead of his time by saying things like 'Blacks and Jews need to work together. We need to help each other,'" he said.

In October, Philip was honoured by Jewish organization B'nai Brith for his lifetime of civil rights work.

Rotrand said after suffering a stroke, Philip spent his final years at St. Andrew's Residential Care, where he died on Monday.

Details of his funeral will be provided at a later time, the Black Coalition said.

- with files from CTV News Montreal's Angela Mackenzie Top Stories

Stay Connected