Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, April 4, 2018 — A petition launched on Nelson Mandela Day in February by Balarama Holness in collaboration with CRARR and a wide range of individuals and community groups, requesting that the City of Montreal hold a public consultation on systemic racism and discrimination in Montreal, has been given a green light and now enters Phase 2.

Through the Right of Initiative enshrined in the Montreal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, in conformity with By-Law 05-056-1, the petition has been approved. The aim of the petition is to have the City of Montreal hold a public consultation to develop a comprehensive strategy to remedy systemic racism and discrimination based on intersecting grounds such as gender, religion, citizenship, age, social condition and sexual orientation.

The process now moves to the Phase 2, whereby 15,000 signatures from any resident of the City of Montreal aged 15 years and over will be required in the 90 days following the official notice of the petition, which is expected in two weeks. These signatures will compel the City to hold the public consultation on concrete actions against systemic racism and discrimination in different sectors of city life.

“It is a historic development, and it is an unstoppable movement towards creating an action plan against systemic racism and building a more inclusive and prosperous Montreal,” said Mr. Holness at a press conference held today to announce the organizers' next steps. It is also held to mark the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We can reach that goal because we have the numbers, and the power to shape public policy at the City level,” he noted.

The organizers have identified key issues that need to be addressed through the consultation, including:
❒ An accountability framework for employment equity for French and English-speaking racialized and ethnic minorities in the municipal civil service;
❒ Contract compliance with employment equity obligations for city contractors,
❒ Hate crimes and hate groups, and
❒ Housing

“We put emphasis on economic opportunities for racialized and other Montrealers, and this is why we will push for a contract compliance policy that requires all contractors, especially those in the infrastructure, real estate and cultural sectors, to implement employment equity,” said CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi.

One particular overriding concern of the organizers and many supporting organizations is the growing racial disparity in poverty, unemployment and criminalization. Recent data show that almost 30% of all children in Montreal and 26% of immigrants live in poverty. Between 2001 and 2012, the number of the working poor in the city increased by 30%.

There are no race-based data on criminalization, although it is recognized that young men of color are disproportionately channelled into the adult and youth criminal justice systems.

The rise in hate crimes and groups that threaten mostly Black, Muslim and Jewish individuals is another major concern.

Petition organizers believe that the City has the discretionary power to avoid forcing them to gather the 15,000 signatures, by proceeding on its own initiative with a public consultation, ideally through the Office of Public Consultation. They are prepared to canvass community, educational and other organizations to get the signatures.

“ We will go to every sports and social club and every college campus to sign up people. We will go to neighborhoods in Montreal North to Lasalle and from Pierrefonds to Rivière-des-Prairies, to sign up people, ” added Mr. Holness.

“This is also a campaign to set Montreal in motion against discrimination and exclusion, as the recent movement to change the City's consultation on seniors has shown,” he concluded.