Quebec premier says he didn’t voluntarily omit slain teen’s name in letter

Quebec Premier François Legault lays flowers at Thomas Trudel's impromptu memorial in the Saint-Michel district, where he was shot and killed. François Legault Facebook

Quebec Premier François Legault says he didn’t voluntarily omit mentioning the death of Jannaï Dopwell-Bailey on a controversial social media post he made over the weekend.

Dopwell-Bailey,  a 16 year-old boy, was stabbed to death in Côte-des-Neiges

Legault’s comments were made after a meeting with Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante to discuss the issue of public security in the metropolis.

On his post, Legault lamented the shooting death of Thomas Trudel, a 16 year-old boy who was gunned down near a school in a residential neighbourhood located in Montreal’s Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension borough.

“I am sad and angry this morning. I tried to read the newspapers but I was distracted. Every time, the death of young Thomas Trudel came to haunt me. A life cut short at 16 years-old for no reason, it’s so unfair. It’s so hard to accept!” the premier wrote.

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Legault also mentioned the death of Meriem Boundaoui, a 15-year-old girl who was killed in a drive-by shooting in the borough of St-Leonard last February.

But he was called out for not including Dopwell-Bailey in his letter.

Liberal MNA Marwah Rizqy and many other Quebecers pointed out the omission.

In her tweet Rizqy said: “Mr. Premier Legault, what angers me is the voluntary omission of the death of young Jannaï Dopwell-Bailey in your letter.

“Know that ‘each child counts, no matter the colour of their skin, the language they speak or the neighborhood they live in’.”

Legault responded to the criticism by adding a paragraph to his original letter.

“The text refers to gun-related deaths. That’s why I mentioned the deaths of Meriem and Thomas,” Legault wrote, in part. “To think that I could give more importance to one life over another is simply wrong.”

Following the correction, Rizqy took to Twitter again to thank the premier for the modification to his post. “It’s to be honoured,” she wrote.

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During Dopwell-Bailey’s funeral last week, the family also deplored what they called “double standards” from politicians, visiting the site of Trudel’s death but not of Dopwell-Bailey.

On Monday, Legault sent a message to Dopwell-Bailey’s family.

“I want to say to the family that there’s no double standard. Those three things that happened are totally unacceptable, I don’t like that,” he said.

“It’s terrible what happened to your family, we must never see that. I got two, guys. I cannot imagine how you feel losing one of your kids that is leaving before us, it’s terrible.”

Legault said that public security minister Geneviéve Guilbeault will be making announcements on the file in the coming days.

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