The director of the SPVM will take part in the march against racism on Sunday

The director of the Montreal Police Service (SPVM), Sylvain Caron, will participate in the solidarity march against racism and police brutality which will take place on Sunday in the streets of Montreal.

The police chief summoned the media on Friday to announce that the SPVM would pre-empt the release of the new arrest policy to counter profiling. This policy will be presented on July 8, for entry into force a few months later.

During his press briefing, Sylvain Caron said that he was ready to participate in the march against racism scheduled for Sunday if he was invited. He even went so far as to say that he was prepared to make a symbolic gesture if asked, implying that he could kneel on the ground in solidarity with the demonstrators. “If I am asked to do anything, I will do it when the time is right with the right people,” he said. The Toronto police chief kneed on Friday during a demonstration against racism.

Anastasia Marcelin, director of the New Generation Black League, the organization responsible for the Sunday march, had already invited Sylvain Caron to join the event. She was delighted that he agreed to be present. “It is important to us. We want to send a message to Quebec society. We want to start on new foundations. There has been enough hatred. We want the police to understand that this is not a march against them, but against police brutality and systemic racism in Quebec, “she explained.

Mrs. Marcelin does not hear asking Mr. Caron to put one knee on the ground. “We leave the decision to the crowd. We want to take a peaceful walk and take symbolic gestures, but we don’t focus on the knee on the floor. The knee to the ground is a movement that belongs to the Americans. Sylvain Caron should however speak before the walk which will start at 10 am at Place Émilie-Gamelin, she said. Similar demonstrations will also take place in Quebec and Sherbrooke.

Sylvain Caron asked that the individuals who had caused a stir last week do not show up for the march on Sunday. “We can’t stop them from inviting each other. The fact that it takes place in broad daylight, I think it will minimize overflows. “

In this regard, Anastasia Marcelin warned that a security team would be on the scene to prevent the wrongdoing: “These guys are going to hand them over to the police. We can’t be fooled with that ”.

The arrests

Sylvain Caron said he understood the “disarray” of the citizens following the death of George Floyd during a police intervention in Minneapolis, in the United States. “I share the people’s indignation at these acts. “

He said that in the wake of the report released last fall by three independent researchers who had found one of “systemic biases” during the arrest of SPVM police officers, a change was already taking place within the police force.

Daily, Montreal police are taking action that demonstrates a change in mentality, he said. “Have there been any incidents of profiling or incidents of racism? Probably yes. We don’t want it. The SPVM says no to discrimination, no to racism. “

Given the circumstances, Mr. Caron decided to postpone the presentation of the policy on arrests by a few months. It was to be unveiled next fall. It will be on July 8.

A second mandate will also be given to independent researchers to better understand the context of the arrests made by the police. It was the examination of these arrests that led the researchers to conclude that there were systemic biases.

“We want to understand the numbers we have received,” said Caron. With politics, we want to give ourselves a tool where there will be no bias. We want our police officers to work with foundation. ” The policy will notably include training that will be given to all police officers, he added. “We are at a crossroads. “

Recall that the independent researchers’ report revealed that Aboriginal people and black people were four to five times more likely to be arrested by police than whites in Montreal.


In Quebec, the Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, deplored the “inertia” of the sectoral committee of the police environment on racial and social profiling, which reports to her department.

“By the time I took office, it had been 13 years […] that this committee existed and that it had, for all practical purposes, delivered no directive, no policy, no practice, nothing concrete, to supervise our police organizations in matters of racial and social profiling ”, said she affirmed during question period in the National Assembly. Then she pointed to the Quebec Liberal Party. “I was quick to dust off this committee and dust off actions on racial and social profiling.”

It is no more and no less than a “bogus committee”, argued for his part the co-spokesperson of Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois after having sifted through the minutes of the working group meetings. held between 2005 and 2018.

According to him, “a true culture of laxity” reigns in the Ministry of Public Security in the fight against racism. As proof, the committee made up of representatives from the Association of Quebec Police Directors, the police force, the École nationale de police du Québec (ENPQ) and the Police Ethics Commissioner has given itself the task of develop a Guide to prevention, detection and intervention on racial and social profiling for the benefit of police organizations … in 2010, he stressed.

The document will be released in mid-June, the Ministry of Public Safety said Friday afternoon at Duty.

A seminar on the prevention of racial and social profiling for all managers of police forces will be held on Tuesday, June 16, said the Deputy Prime Minister. The issue of racial and social profiling in arrests will also constitute a “very important aspect” of the work of the Advisory Committee on the Police Reality in Quebec, which it set up in December 2019, she added.

With Marco Bélair-Cirino

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