Quebec says it will correct anti-racist ads in English after backlash


MONTREAL – The Quebec minister responsible for the fight against racism has said the government will correct an advertising campaign that some have criticized for not including Anglophones.

A series of simple 15-second announcements aired Monday as part of a campaign to raise awareness of racism and promote inclusion for all Quebecers, but some felt excluded by the language used in the videos.

“A group of black youth gathered in a park at night are called: Friends,” reads a narrator in one of the videos as five people are seen mingling near a park bench after dusk. The video ends with the text: “End the stigma.

But in the French version of the same ad, “Friends” was translated as “des amis québécois”, which, for some, implied that the people in the English video were not considered Quebeckers.

Benoit Charette, the minister responsible for the fight against racism in Quebec, unveiled the new campaign on Monday but was quickly questioned about it.

The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), an umbrella organization representing English-speaking community organizations, questioned why the word “Québécois” was not used in the video in the first place and how the government thought the omission would pass. unnoticed.

The QCGN said in a statement to CTV News on Monday evening that “The word Québécois describes very well our belonging to this province, like French-speaking Quebecers. It is really a refusal to recognize our identity as an integral part of Quebec.

Jennifer Maccarone, spokesperson for the Liberal Party of Quebec in matters of diversity and inclusion, also criticized the lack of “tact” of Minister Charette, declaring on Twitter: “It’s sad that being a Quebecer cannot translate into another language. Are not anglophones fully-fledged Quebeckers? Isn’t the primary goal to bring everyone together ?!

Other people were also questioning the English video’s post on Twitter.

Charette acknowledged the anti-English-speaking sentiment in the ads and said that after consulting with her language advisers, the videos would be edited.

In a tweet written in French, he said the term “Québécois” was not used because it was deemed “less inclusive”.

“The reactions today show us that this was not the best solution,” he said.

In a subsequent message, the Minister said that the language of the English version will be changed. “All citizens of Quebec are Quebeckers, whatever their language,” he added, also in French.

The QCGN said it was “happy” that the minister has undertaken to modify the advertisements.

The videos were released in response to one of the 25 recommendations of the Anti-Racism Action Group report titled “Racism in Quebec: zero tolerance”, which was released last December.

The new ad campaign aired on television, in newspapers and online on Monday. All videos are available on YouTube.

The government seems to have made the same blunder in the four videos that are part of the campaign. For example, in another, the narrator says: “In Quebec, a tattooed man of Latin American origin running in the street is called: a neighbor.

But in French, this person is called “a neighbor from Quebec”.

But that’s not the only thing that was seen as problematic in the awareness campaign.

The QCGN said the campaign is based on stereotypes “which risk fueling divisions, rather than dispelling them”.

In a press release to announce the campaign, Charette said the government has “a duty to ensure that everyone who lives in Quebec feels at home there.”

“Quebec is a welcoming and inclusive society and, in any case, we cannot tolerate that a person is subjected to prejudices because of their ethnic origins,” he said in the press release.

“The entire population must mobilize now to put an end to prejudices. “


Comments are closed.