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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.
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

Canadian Muslim alliance remembers Quebec City mosque shooting
Canadian Muslim alliance remembers Quebec City mosque shooting

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.”

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WATCH: Most Canadians acknowledge Islamophobia exists in Canada

Most Canadians acknowledge Islamophobia exists in Canada
Most Canadians acknowledge Islamophobia exists in Canada

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.

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