Anjou borough councillor in hot water over Islamophobic comments

City councillor Lynne Shand in an undated photo on the city of Montreal website. Shand is facing backlash over comments she made on social media.
City councillor Lynne Shand in an undated photo on the city of Montreal website. Shand is facing backlash over comments she made on social media. City of Montreal

Anjou borough Coun. Lynne Shand is being called out for comments she made on social media following an emergency medical appointment.

In a Facebook post, which has since been taken down, Shand complains that the ophthalmologist assigned to her case was a veiled woman.

“Had it not been an emergency, I would have refused to be treated by her,” the post reads in French. “I’m raging because it’s really the Islamization of our country. We have to accept everything: their reasonable accommodation, removing our crucifix (and I’m not a believer), etc., etc.”

READ MORE: Montreal to remove crucifix from council chamber and place it in museum

In the comment thread beneath the post, Shand claims she wasn’t questioning the doctor’s qualifications, saying the ophthalmologist was excellent. However, the Anjou councillor goes on to claim that Muslims are “trying to convert the planet…through massive immigration and multiple births.”

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“I’m not racist, I’m just a realist,” the comment continued. “Have you noticed how each time you see a veiled woman, she’s pushing a carriage with a baby?”

READ MORE: Quebec Premier François Legault says no to national day to combat Islamophobia

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante took to Twitter on Sunday to condemn the comments.

“Montreal is an open, inclusive and diverse city,” Plante said.

“The comments of the councillor of Anjou are absolutely inappropriate and unworthy of an elected member. Elected officials have a duty to rise above the fray and show restraint in such a sensitive debate.”

The Canadian Muslim Forum, for its part, is calling on the councillor to issue a public apology or resign immediately.

READ MORE: Quebec’s proposed religious symbol ban for public workers fuelled by specific symbols: study

Religious symbols, immigration and Islamophobia have all become contentious issues in Quebec, with the Coalition Avenir Québec government promising to reduce immigration and ban public servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols while on the job.

Premier François Legault himself came under fire in February after closing the door on the idea of designating a national day to combat Islamophobia, arguing that it wasn’t a problem in Quebec. Legault later backtracked, acknowledging that the problem existed but claiming it wasn’t widespread.

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READ MORE: François Legault backtracks on Islamophobia comment after outcry by Muslim groups

Shand’s remarks on social media were made on the eve of a Sunday’s march in Montreal against hate and xenophobia.

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