Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, June 27, 2017 — Organizers of the Fête Nationale du Québec should learn from this year’s controversy and criticism of racial insensitivity by adopting some systemic changes that can allow future celebrations to be more inclusive, unifying and representative of Quebec’s diversity.

CRARR deeply regrets the sorry image of subservient Black and other racialized youths pushing one particular float with White artists performing on stage. In an age of heightened globalization, social media communications and demographic shifts, such an image, worth hundreds of thousands of internet hits inside and outside Quebec, projects a message that does not reflect the true spirit of celebrating a city and a nation that are both modern and diverse.

Similarly, greater attention should be paid to the need for more diverse personalities and performers who sing and speak from the floats, not only to those who volunteer to push them in silence. The rich voices and sounds of a diverse nation need to be heard as loud as the image of the latter that needs to be shown.

CRARR calls on organizers, media observers, civil society groups as well as financial supporters of the event to adopt concrete measures that can make future Fête nationales into more inclusive, vibrant and harmonious celebrations of Quebecers’ diversity. Some of these measures include:

• Ensure greater racial and ethnic diversity on the organizing committee;

• Include people of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds at all levels of planning and decision-making;

• Integrate the cultural diversity of Quebec (which also include the First Nations, Anglophones, LGBT communities, people with disabilities, etc.) into all programming contents of the Fête nationale, and

• Make racial and ethnic diversity into a key criterion for Quebec government funding and corporate sponsorships from companies such as the SAQ (Quebec Liquor Board), la Caisse de dépôt et de placement, Coca Cola, Hydro-Québec, Sleeman and Naya.