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Montreal, October 3, 2006 ---An Asian bus driver with the Montreal Transit Corporation (MTC) who was insulted with racial slurs and physically harassed by a taxi driver in a road rage case has been awarded $4,000 in moral and punitive damages by the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission.

In September 2003, Mr. Billy Mark was driving a bus on René-Lévesque East Blvd. He stopped his vehicle to pick up a rider at the bus stop at the corner of Saint-Laurent and René-Lévesque, in front of a taxi. Frustrated by being blocked by the bus, the taxi driver, Mr. Babak Rashnavadi, honked and yelled “Fucking Chink” at Mr. Mark, who, despite being deeply offended, apologized to the passengers on the bus and drove on. The taxi driver then got out of his taxi, ran along the driver side of the bus for one block and banged on the bus with his fists while continuing to shout racial slurs at Mr. Mark.

When informed by CRARR that racial slurs are an attack on his right to equality and dignity, Mr. Mark mandated CRARR to file a complaint with the Commission.

In its decision issued on September 5, 2006, the Commission ruled that Mr. Mark’s rights under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms have been intentionally violated by the taxi driver who is now required to pay $3,000 in moral damages and $1,000 in punitive damages to Mr. Mark.

“As an Asian man, I want all Asians and members of racial minorities to know that they are legally protected against this form of racism and that they should never hesitate to take action when they face racial insults, ” Mr. Mark said.

“As a public transit employee who works with a multicultural population, I want everyone to know that we public servants of color have a right to a racism-free and respectful workplace, and that means not being exposed to racial discrimination and harassment on the bus or in the subway where we work,” he added.

According to CRARR’s Executive Director, Fo Niemi, “People tend to forget that offensive and discriminatory slurs or insults directed at other people are civil rights violations and that these violations can be costly to the perpetrator.”

The respondent taxi driver has until October 13 to pay the damages, failing which the case will be brought by the Human Rights Commission before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.