Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks to the media at a press briefing on June 8, 2020 in Montreal.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

A day after demonstrators in Montreal criticized Francois Legault for his refusal to acknowledge systemic racism in the province, the Quebec premier held firm on his position.

Legault told reporters in Montreal on Monday he’s committed to implementing a plan to stamp out racism in the province and expects details in the coming days.

Thousands marched in Montreal on Sunday in an anti-racism rally, with some expressing frustration with Legault’s stance.

Story continues below advertisement

But Legault said he doesn’t want to get drawn into a war over the term “systemic,” nor does he want it to turn into a trial of Quebecers – the vast majority of whom Legault says aren’t racist.

The premier conceded that racism exists and called for a “quiet evolution” on the matter to deal with it – evoking the province’s Quiet Revolution in the 1960s that brought about social and political change in Quebec society.

Legault noted black members of his own caucus have recounted their own experiences with racism, and he repeated a promise to go beyond rhetoric and establish a provincial policy to fight racism.

“For me, we have Quebecers of different colours, different origins, but we are all human beings and we’re all equals, no exceptions,” Legault said. “But we must face the reality and the problems lived by some of our fellow citizens, and we must act.”

Demonstrators Sunday said Legault’s refusal to acknowledge the systemic nature of racism – biases, policies and practices entrenched in institutions – is missing the bigger picture.

“I don’t understand why people are trying to stick on one word. I think what is important is to say and all agree that there is some racism in Quebec, and we don’t want that any more,” Legault said on Monday.

He said the province could have cancelled Sunday’s march and one the previous weekend for public health reasons, but he decided they should be allowed to go ahead. Legault noted that francophones and women in Quebec have made advances to overcome discrimination, and he said the same must happen for racial minorities.

Story continues below advertisement

Fo Niemi, executive director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, a civil rights advocacy group, said it is important to recognize that racism isn’t always direct and can be subtle.

Niemi noted that courts have recognized systemic discrimination and systemic racism for more than three decades, but there’s a level of intellectual confusion surrounding it.

“Systemic racism is not a general indictment of a society as a whole, and it’s important to stop using systemic as a tool to generalize or accuse an entire society in a sweeping manner,” Niemi said.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

' ].join(''); bioEp.init({ html: html, width: 608, cookieExp: 0, delay: 0, onPopup: function () { exitPopupPushAnalytics('popupDisplay') } }); } function popupClickSubscribe(tag) { exitPopupPushAnalytics('clickSubscribe-' + tag); var url = 'https://subscribe.theglobeandmail.com/#/digital?intcmp=promotions_cem1697-' + tag; window.location.href = url; } function exitPopupPushAnalytics(action) { window.analyticsLayer.push({ "event": "clickEvent", "clickEvent": { "testId": "cem1697", "feature": "promotions", "action": action, "type": "test", "label": action, "variantName": "experience", "segmentName": "popup" } }) }
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies