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Bloc leader accuses Twitter user of wanting a ‘lynching,’ inciting racism allegations

Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet accused a Twitter user of wanting “a political show and a lynching” in his latest defence of an MP accused of being racist by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

Douglas Connors, who identifies as mixed race, tweeted at Blanchet Tuesday night asking why the party’s House Leader Alain Therrien refused to speak to the media himself to address the criticism that he is racist, claiming he was hiding like a child behind his father’s pants.

Two hours later, Blanchet replied: “Because you people, or those you support, just want a political show and a lynching.”

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Connors retorted back by referring to Blanchet as an “ultra-racist,” tweeting that using the phrase “you people” was inherently intolerant, and asked the Bloc leader if he understood he’d implied someone of Black or mixed ethnicity wanted the lynching of a white man.
Click to play video: 'NDP leader Jagmeet Singh ordered to leave House of Commons after calling Bloc MP a ‘racist’' NDP leader Jagmeet Singh ordered to leave House of Commons after calling Bloc MP a ‘racist’
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh ordered to leave House of Commons after calling Bloc MP a ‘racist’ – Jun 17, 2020

Blanchet called him “delusional,” inviting Connors to look up his political record to confirm what he claimed was “documented support” for Indigenous and other minority communities.

The party did not respond to multiple email and telephone requests for comment. Connors also did not respond to an interview request.

Read more: Jagmeet Singh booted from House of Commons for calling Bloc MP ‘racist’

The tweets, which were independently translated into English for Global News, speak to comments made by Singh last week about systemic racism in the House of Commons.

On Wednesday, the NDP leader was booted from the House after refusing to apologize for calling an Therrien racist.

Following weeks of national outcry alleging systemic racism in the RCMP, Singh asked the federal government to acknowledge its existence and put forward a motion that would review the police force’s budget, examine their use of force and increase funding into mental health and addiction support.

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Click to play video: 'Singh reaffirms anyone who votes against motions in the House to address systemic racism is ‘racist’' Singh reaffirms anyone who votes against motions in the House to address systemic racism is ‘racist’
Singh reaffirms anyone who votes against motions in the House to address systemic racism is ‘racist’ – Jun 17, 2020

Earlier this month, 26-year-old Chantel Moore, who identified as Indigenous, was fatally shot by police in New Brunswick after an officer arrived at her home in response to a requested wellness check.

An Indigenous man named Rodney Levi, 48, was shot and killed by RCMP in New Brunswick on June 12. Police said in a statement on June 13 that when they arrived at the scene, Levi was carrying knives.

Both shootings are being investigated by Quebec’s police watchdog, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes.

Singh’s motion required unanimous consent in order to move forward. When Therrien refused to support the motion, Singh called him a racist and was expelled shortly after.

The Bloc Quebecois later said it blocked Singh’s motion because it was already committed to another motion that would support a public safety committee study of the RCMP. The party has argued supporting a motion that recognizes systemic racism would undermine the committee’s work.

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Click to play video: 'Bloc Québécois leader hopes Singh will ‘sincerely apologize’ for racism accusation towards a Bloc MP' Bloc Québécois leader hopes Singh will ‘sincerely apologize’ for racism accusation towards a Bloc MP
Bloc Québécois leader hopes Singh will ‘sincerely apologize’ for racism accusation towards a Bloc MP – Jun 18, 2020

Singh later doubled down on those claims.

“Anyone who votes against a motion that recognizes the systemic racism in the RCMP and the calls for basic fixes to the problem, reducing use of force, calling for de-escalation, looks at ways of having health care response instead of a police response in the context of Indigenous people of dying, in the context of violence against Indigenous and Black people, in that context, someone who votes against that is a racist,” he said.

Read more: Trudeau defends Singh, says systemic racism needs to be called out

Blanchet said on Thursday that he hopes NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will “sincerely apologize” for calling a Bloc member racist in the House, citing fears that it would encourage MPs to begin trading insults on the floor.

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“Alan Therrien is anything but a racist person,” he said.

“The parliament was not supposed to dictate the conclusions of this committee, and this is the only reason why we said we don’t want to approve this motion.”

Former Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe called Singh’s comments “cheap politics,” coming to his party’s defence during a previous interview on Sunday’s The West Block.

“I don’t know if it was genuine or not but it was plain stupid,” he said. “There is systematic racism in Quebec but we certainly don’t have to take lessons from the rest of Canada.”

Click to play video: 'House of Commons at odds' House of Commons at odds
House of Commons at odds – Jun 18, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to Singh’s defence on Thursday, and said it was not his place to criticize the NDP leader.

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“In regards to what Mr. Singh said, it is not for me to criticize any Canadian, particularly the only racialized leader in the House of Commons, for making other people uncomfortable by calling them out for not recognizing systemic discrimination,” he said.

Calls have been mounting for Canada to recognize the systemic anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism that exists within the country since the deaths of George Floyd and Regis Korchinski-Paquet, both of whom died days apart in May after encounters with police.

Their deaths have spurred mostly peaceful protests throughout the country, while the death of Floyd, who died in Minneapolis after former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for over eight minutes following arrest, has spawned anti-racism demonstrations around the world.

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