City validates petition calling for public consultations on systemic racism
The City of Montreal will likely proceed with a series of public consultations on systemic racism and discrimination.
It will be the first consultation of its type in Montreal.
A petition started by Montreal in Action amassed over 20,000 signatures - 5,000 more than required to launch a consultation. It was presented at City Hall on July 27th, and approved on Friday.
Representatives of Montreal's Chinese, Black, Islamic, Anglophone and Francophone communities were consulted before the petition was issued.
After verifying that the petition met the minimum requirements, the city approved the public consultations.
"The real work begins now," said Balarama Holness, who spearheaded the petition. "This public consultation's success and impact depends on the collaboration of organizations, leaders, academics, and citizens from across the city. We need your support and your contributions."
"No longer will Montrealers tolerate racial profiling, employment discrimination - which includes micro-transgressions within corporations, housing discrimination, issues related to immigration, etc. [They've] declared that inclusion is a cornerstone of our culture here in Montreal, and in Quebec," he added.
Holness, a McGill law student who ran in the muncipal election, previously said the group wants the city to develop a strategy for dealing with discrimination and to diversify its workforce and political scape.
With the Provincial election coming up, only 6 to 7 per cent of declared candidates belong to a visible minority - something the community group hopes will, in time, be amended.
They also hope the city will set up a budget and an action plan to monitor - and correct - instances of systemic discrimination.
In a statement, Mayor Valerie Plante said she intends to follow up on the initiative.
"We will therefore mandate the OCPM (Office de consultation publique de Montreal) so that the consultation follows its course," the statement reads. "We will continue our work on the table that is going well, and is very useful."