January 31, 2019 8:15 pm
Updated: January 31, 2019 8:18 pm

Quebec Premier François Legault says no to national day to combat Islamophobia

Quebec Premier François Legault speaks with the media during a news conference in Gatineau, Que., Wednesday, January 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Premier François Legault said Thursday there is no Islamophobia in Quebec, closing the door on the idea of designating a national day to combat the problem.

On Tuesday, the second anniversary of a mosque shooting that killed six Muslim men in Quebec City, his deputy premier Geneviève Guilbault appeared open to the idea of a national day to combat Islamophobia, which had been proposed by Muslim groups.

READ MORE: Quebec City mosque shooting — Remembering the victims and moving on 2 years later

“Geneviève was careful in saying that we were going to look at that,” Legault told reporters at the end of a caucus meeting in Gatineau, Que. “We looked at it, and there won’t be any, that’s clear.”

WATCH: How commemorating tragic events like the Quebec City mosque shooting can contribute to a greater sense of understanding and unity

As for why, he said simply: “Listen, I don’t think there is Islamophobia in Quebec.” After the news conference, a press aide told media the premier meant to say, “there is no current of Islamophobia in Quebec.”

WATCH: Most Canadians acknowledge Islamophobia exists in Canada

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The topic remains sensitive in Quebec, which continues to grapple with a debate over accommodating minority religions. Legault has promised legislation early in the next legislative session to prohibit public servants in positions of authority — police officers, judges, prosecutors, prison guards and teachers — from wearing religious symbols such as the hijab, turban and kippa.

READ MORE: Quebec government to table ban on religious signs, mulls grandfather clause

In Ottawa, the Commons heritage committee recommended last year that Jan. 29 be declared a “national day of remembrance and action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory announced this week that the city was proclaiming Jan. 29 a day of remembrance and action on Islamophobia.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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