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Quebec: Cops and racism, CAQ style

Quebec police have Black drivers on their radar
John Bell

November 29, 2022

In October Quebec Superior Court judge Michael Yergeau ruled in favour of Christopher Luamba, who had launched a constitutional human rights challenge over police racial profiling.

In particular the ruling removed a section from the Quebec Highway Safety Code which allows cops to stop and search any vehicle even without cause. The clause was an open invitation to racial profiling.

Luamba charged he had been arbitrarily stopped and harassed by Montreal police over a dozen times, usually when he was driving. None of the stops even resulted in a ticket.

The court victory was supposed to send a wake-up call to racist police. Don’t hold your breath. Francois Legault’s CAQ government has launched an appeal.

They say ability to arbitrarily stop any vehicle – essentially nullifying Charter rights and freedoms – is “a very useful police tool” and that racial profiling is a separate issue. They promise to spend more money on sensitivity training for cops instead. That has worked so well in the past.­

Left opposition party Quebec Solidaire called out the government’s overt racism. Andrés Fontecilla, QS MNA and critic for anti-racism declared: "It’s a huge slap in the face for all racialized people, in particular for the Black communities of Quebec. By maintaining article 636 that allows random stops by police without reasonable cause, the CAQ has admitted that racial profiling is acceptable in Quebec." 

Moreover, they argue that the move is consistent with other racist CAQ policies designed to appeal to its rural base. “In the last few months, François Legault has irresponsibly conflated immigration and violence. He has injured more than one with his declarations. The last thing Quebec needs right now is a government that takes actions that are detrimental to inclusion and national cohesion.”





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