Racism and Police Impunity

Former Police Officer Appointed Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs in Quebec

Those demanding justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, redress in cases of racist treatment of Indigenous people, as in the case of Joyce Echaquan, and many others who have been victims of police violence, have denounced the October 9 appointment by Quebec Premier François Legault of Ian Lafrenière as the new Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. Lafrenière is a former police officer who made a name for himself in Quebec as a communications and media relations officer for the Montreal Police Service (SPVM). His role has always been to prettify police activities denounced by the people.

Currently the member of the National Assembly for Vachon and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Public Safety, Lafrenière defended the SPVM's repression, teargassing and brutal arrests of students and their allies in the spring of 2012 .

In 2015, when Cégep de Maisonneuve was labelled a potential nesting ground for youth radicalization because of the large number of Muslim students, Lafrenière justified the presence of police at the Cégep.

In June 2016, he was transferred to the Intelligence Directorate of the SPVM. He was also a Reserve Public Affairs Officer for the Canadian Army and then became a trainer for UNESCO, working in several African countries. He has also taken part in police training missions in Tunisia, Somalia, Rwanda, Mali, Senegal, Ivory Coast, The Gambia and Ukraine.

More recently, on the tragedy involving the racist treatment of Joyce Echaquan prior to her death in hospital, his stance of not recognizing racial profiling and the inherent racism of the state has been denounced by many organizations. According to Lafrenière, it is "too early" to say the case revealed racism in the health care system.

In the opinion of the victims of state racism and police brutality, the appointment of Lafrenière as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs adds insult to injury and shows that the people cannot expect justice from a system whose police powers are deployed against them.

(Photos: TML.)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 40 - October 24, 2020

Article Link:
Racism and Police Impunity: Former Police Officer Appointed Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs in Quebec - Christine Dandenault


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