The SPVM’s position on racism and the systemic discrimination found quite timid

La position du SPVM sur le racisme et la discrimination systémique jugée bien timide

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
The director of the SPVM, Sylvain Caron, did not see fit to intervene on the public square following the declaration of the mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plante, on the reality of systemic racism.

If the brief statement of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) on Monday in relation to racism and systemic discrimination would seem to satisfy the administration of Valerie Plant, it leaves many observers skeptical about the willingness of the police chief Sylvain Caron to make significant changes in the organization.

“I sincerely believe that Mr. Caron and the team from the SPVM, in this moment and in the last few months, have made huge step forward, but there is actually a lot of work to do,” said the head of public safety to the executive committee, Rosannie Filato, when questioned at the city council on the statement by the POLICE the day before.

Monday night, after the mayor Plant the was in a hurry to take a position on the report of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM), the SPVM released a press statement saying that it recognized the systemic nature of racism and discrimination and that he is committed to take action to combat them. The director Sylvain Caron, who did not want to comment publicly on the report, was not cited in the press release.

This is the first time I see a chief of police also cleared. It does not seem to make efforts to know the people of the various communities. It was more the impression that it is not really the man of the situation. The police department reacts as if he was in a state of siege.

— Fo Niemi

Lack of clarity

The League of rights and freedoms, believes that the message of the SPVM is ambiguous. “It recognizes that there is racism and discrimination is systemic, but he never speaks of his troops,” notes its president, Alexandra Stone. “When we know that for years the POLICE refused to recognize the racial profiling and systemic discrimination among police officers, we really need details and you would like to see Caron recognizes this phenomenon an explicit and public. “

She recalled that after his swearing-in 2018, Mr. Caron had raised the possibility that racial profiling is more a matter of perception. And recently, when questioned about this, he limited himself to say that he had “perhaps” had incidents of racism in the POLICE.

Inspector at communications department of the SPVM, André Durocher stated, however, that Sylvain Caron, will not be other explanations before 8 July, the date at which it will unveil the new policy of apprehension.

The director of the Centre for research-action on race relations (CRARR) Fo Niemi, accused Mr. Caron its absence in the public space since the month of January and his lack of communication with the minorities. “This is the first time I see a chief of police also cleared. It does not seem to make efforts to know the people of the various communities, ” he says. It was more the impression that it is not really the man of the situation. The police department reacts as if he was in a state of siege. “

Fo Niemi notes that the discretion of POLICE on the issue of racism and profiling may be attributable to the collective action and other cases before the Court of human rights on these issues. About Valerie Plant, which has unambiguously recognized the existence of racism and discrimination is systemic in Montreal, him do, however, provide hope that progress can be made : “We feel that the tide has turned. We have heard enough of statements and speeches. We want results and accountability. “


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The leader of the opposition at city hall, Lionel Perez, also believes that the declaration of the SPVM does not go far enough. He was surprised also that Sylvain Caron has not been cited in the press release of the SPVM. “This is the time to be archiclair and transparent. It is not necessary to play with the words. The way this was presented, it sows a little doubt as to the willingness of the POLICE to recognise that there is racism within his own organization. “

Lionel Perez was hard to understand that Sylvain Caron can be explained more clearly before the 8 July. “It is the director of the largest police service in the province of Quebec. We’re talking about a city which is multiethnic, where one-third of the population is composed of visible minorities. It is far too important an issue to wait until the 8th of July. This is unacceptable. “

The ex-police officer Guy Ryan said the situation at the SPVM has progressed with training on multiculturalism, the profiling and the use of force. Over the years, the SPVM has also hired women and police officers from visible minorities, but, according to him, the time has come to go further. “It is true that they have made efforts, but it is true that they don’t take the bull, not the horns. At a given time, it is necessary that there are concrete acts “, lance-t-il. The SPVM may act to target the police officers who are of racial profiling, he suggests.

“But it should not happen rather than to what the police officers do not want to go in areas where there are more minorities not to have problems “, taking care to add.

Guy Ryan argues that the multiple crises that the SPVM has gone through over the past few years have led to the departure of several officers of experience, and he is not convinced that Sylvain Caron has the expertise required to run a service such as the SPVM with its 4500 police officers.

Prior to joining the SPVM in march 2018, to support the acting director, Martin Prud’homme, Sylvain Caron had occupied the position of deputy director of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ). Previously, he headed the service de police de Sorel-Tracy from 1981 to 2002.

The Brotherhood of police officers did not want to comment on the statement of the SPVM.

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