The Black League of Quebec urges the administration of Valérie Plante to revise the appointment process for the head of the Police Department of the City of Montreal (SPVM) in order to involve citizens more and to fight against racial profiling.
Last June, the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) filed a report on systemic racism and discrimination in the metropolis. In this vast document, the paramunicipal body notably recommends that the City review “the selection process” of the head of the SPVM.
To do this, the City could in particular “require” that the finalists for this position each make a presentation during an online session of the Public security commission (CSP) which would include a public question period. The PUC should also undertake that the choice of the final candidacy “is conditional on its knowledge and recognition of the problem of racial and social profiling as well as its mastery of the skills necessary to lead a change in organizational culture. », We can read.
In November 2018, the City appointed Sylvain Caron as head of the SPVM, to replace Martin Prud’homme and clean up the internal affairs of the police force. His five-year term will end in December 2023.
A selection process to be reviewed by the SPVM
For the Black League of Quebec, there is therefore an “urgent need” to act to plan the recruitment process for the next director of the SPVM, in accordance with the recommendations of the OCPM. According to the black community rights organization, Montreal should be inspired by Toronto, which made a commitment this summer to review the selection process for your chief of police.
“What should be done is put in place concrete measures so that the new police chief is not appointed as he traditionally is. It must be done in a more transparent way in the future with greater citizen participation ”, insists Metro the president of the League, Max Stanley Bazin.
Moreover, currently, the nine members of the CSP are elected from different parties at the town hall. The OCPM believes, however, that this number should rise to 11 in order to include two citizens who would have a right to vote equivalent to that of elected officials.
Such a measure would make it possible to bring “a voice to the population” in the choice of the next head of the SPVM, analyzes the former police officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and racial profiling advisor, Alain Babineau. “It would give different perspectives” on the various public security issues debated in this commission, he adds.
“It is really society that must choose its leader [de police]“, Also considers the director of the League of Blacks new generation, Anastasia Marcelin.
“We are afraid that this report [de l’OCPM] be put on a shelf, as has been done in the past. ” -Max Stanley Bazin, president of the Black League of Quebec
In August 2019, the Superior Court of Quebec authorized collective action of the Quebec Black League. This concerns alleged racial profiling practices at the SPVM. Even if the organization opened the door to an amicable agreement with the City, last year, it confirms to Metro that he did not abandon this collective action, which is ongoing.
Contacted by Metro, the office of the mayoress of Montreal, Valérie Plante, points out that the City has already implemented the first three recommendations of the OCPM report, which has 38.
The City thus recognized the existence of systemic racism, appointed a new member to the executive committee to tackle this issue and created a position of commissioner who will have to draft an action plan aimed at “prioritizing and implementing recommendations. of the OCPM ”.
The new commissioner, Bochra Manaï, will also be at the head of an office on which will sit professionals with various expertise. One of the experts from this group will also work full-time with the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) to counter racial and social profiling.
“Our administration is firmly determined to continue its action to fight against racism and systemic discrimination and to accelerate the organizational transformation towards a city that is more just, inclusive and representative of its diversities,” said Metro a press officer from Ms. Plante’s cabinet, Laurence Houde-Roy.
At the time of writing, the SPVM had not answered questions from Metro.