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Quebec government to review format of controversial systemic racism consultations

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard (left) speaks as New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant looks on at the closing news conference at the First Ministers meeting in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct.3, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
October 05, 2017 - 5:51 AM

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will review the format for provincewide consultations on systemic racism.

Couillard had previously refused to question the process but changed his mind after weeks of criticism from all sides.

But it's not known what changes will now be made to the consultations, which have been controversial since the beginning.

"We have heard the message," Couillard said Wednesday in Quebec City. "We will reflect together on ways to get results."

But he didn't explain what changes would be made or whether the hearings would be scrapped altogether.

Opposition parties have said the process amounts to putting Quebecers on trial and called on the government to instead take concrete measures to help minorities.

On Tuesday, two members of Couillard's Liberal party questioned whether the consultations may have played a role in the party's defeat in a Quebec City byelection earlier this week.

Michel Matte and Patrick Huot suggested voters in Louis-Hebert didn't like being painted as racists.

Consultations were to begin in October, followed by a forum that would bring together experts and the key players.

The larger forum was scheduled to be held in November, but it will now go ahead in early December in Montreal.

The approved budget for the entire exercise has jumped from $500,000 to $900,000 since July.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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