Outspoken Black ex-Mountie to advise Montreal commission; police union says he's not 'impartial'
MONTREAL -- Former RCMP officer Alain Babineau says he has been hired as an adviser to the City of Montreal's new anti-racism commission.
The move, not yet officially announced, had drawn criticism, most notably from the head of Montreal's police union, Yves Francoeur.
In a letter to union members, he complained that Babineau, who is Black, is too "activist" when it comes to policing and racism, and that he doesn't have an impartial view.
Francoeur wrote in the letter, provided to CTV, that there's "always room for improvement" in policing and that police support efforts to eliminate racism.
But "the messages must be carried by people who bring people together and whose past testifies to this capacity," he wrote.
"We respect his experience and his right to speak as an activist, even if we strongly deplore the speed with which he always jumps prematurely to the same conclusion."
Babineau was hired to advise the new commission specifically on Montreal police. The group only got up and running this winter after a chair was appointed: Boshra Manai.
Babineau has also worked with CRARR, the Montreal advocacy group that often represents Montrealers with complaints about police violence or police racism, and he frequently speaks to media about racism and policing.
Francoeur said in the letter that Babineau has also personally assisted people in bringing complaints against Montreal police.
Babineau, when reached Wednesday, said this is only his first week working with the city commission and that he's not serving as one of its leaders, but simply as an adviser. He said he wasn't able to give longer interviews at the time without more notice.
Francoeur hasn't yet responded to a request for comment.
He wrote in the letter that the major problem with Babineau's appointment is that he won't be able to get "support," presumably from officers themselves.
"It is clear that an activist arguing in the media against the police is in a bad position to gain support," he wrote."A minimum of appearance of impartiality would have been necessary for this position."
--With files from CTV's Max Harrold