There is a visible lack of ethnic representation at a forum on diversity and the fight against discrimination being held in Quebec City by the provincial government Tuesday.
“This proves the lack of openness, the lack of progress for the community,” said Gabriel Bazin, Black Coalition of Quebec vice-president.
“[It] is very evident, very visible that there is nobody from the community at the table.”
The Liberals changed the format of its controversial consultations on systemic racism after criticism from the opposition parties in the national assembly.
Nevertheless, the coalition told Global News its views are not being expressed at the forum and the main topics of discussion were immigration and the labour shortage.
Bazin argued the discussion should focus on combating discrimination — not just towards newcomers to the country, but also against members of minority groups who are born in Quebec.
He noted that the coalition was given a table at the back of the room, saying the government should have invited more community groups and visible minority people to take part in the discussion, rather than observe from the outskirts.
There are 26 community groups at the forum.
In response, Quebec Immigration Minister David Heurtel insisted the people given a seat at the table were “key economic players” to developing immigration in the regions.
“We need to talk about employment, not only to face the challenge we have in terms of workforce shortages but also as the vehicle to better integrate,” Heurtel said.
“So yes, we’re going to talk about discrimination. Yes, we’re going to talk about racism, but we have to talk about it in terms of concrete solutions.”
There are three modules planned for the day, one is about fighting racism and the two others are about employment and training.