Montreal to forbid councillors from discriminating on basis of religion

An amendment to city hall’s code of ethics follows last week’s controversy over anti-Muslim statements by Anjou borough councillor Lynne Shand.

Mayor Valérie Plante says the city and its suburbs complement each other when it comes to foreign direct investment and shouldn't see themselves as being in competition.

The new clause also forbids discrimination because of race, gender identity and pregnancy. Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Members of Montreal city council will be forbidden from discriminating on the basis of religion, ethnic origin and other criteria under an amendment to their code of ethics to be adopted next month.

“I invite all elected officials in Montreal to read this new article and make a note of it and to ensure that our public and private interventions, whatever they are, are in agreement with this new article of the code of ethics and conduct,” said Émilie Thuillier, the new executive member responsible for democracy and transparency.

It was the first executive committee meeting for Thuillier, the borough mayor of Ahuntsic-Cartierville, since Mayor Valérie Plante promoted her to the committee in a shuffle Friday.

The amendment, to be submitted to the next city council meeting on April 15, follows last week’s controversy over anti-Muslim statements by Anjou borough councillor Lynne Shand.

However, it was in the works before Shand posted the comments on March 23 accusing Muslims of wanting to “convert the planet to Islam by massive immigration and multiple births” and expressing rage at having been treated by an ophthalmologist who wore a hijab.

In February, Marc Lalonde, the ethic adviser for city council, submitted a report recommending the anti-discrimination clause be added to the code of ethics for councillors.

Plante promised last week to seek Lalonde’s opinion on how to deal with Shand’s remarks. The speaker of council, Cathy Wong, also announced she was filing a complaint before Quebec’s municipal commission against Shand for the comments, which Wong described as inexcusable.

Anjou Mayor Luis Miranda kicked councillor Shand out of his caucus last Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, Shand attended the borough’s monthly council meeting as an independent, where she apologized for her remarks but refused calls by citizens who attended the meeting to step down.

The new clause, to be adopted by council May 13, stipulates that elected officials must not discriminate “on the basis of race, colour, gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, age except where provided for by law, religion, political beliefs, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, disability or the use of a means to overcome this handicap.”

It is based on Section 10 of Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

[email protected]




You may also like...