Two Black Montreal Firefighters Report Years of Racial Abuse Amidst Calls for Investigation

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Two Black Montreal Firefighters Report Years of Racial Abuse Amidst Calls for Investigation
Firefighters at the scene of a fire in Old Montreal, Thursday, March 16, 2023.

Two Black firefighters in Montreal are speaking out about the years of racial abuse they say they have faced from their colleagues, with their managers taking no action to address the issue.

The Montreal-based anti-racism group, the Red Coalition, held a press conference on Tuesday to announce that it has filed a complaint with Quebec’s human rights commission on behalf of the two firefighters.

According to the coalition, the abuse began on one of the firefighter’s first day on the job, when he was called the N-word by a colleague. The situation escalated when he informed his team that he did not eat pork due to his Muslim faith, leading to further insults.

Alain Babineau, a representative of the Red Coalition, shared details of the most recent alleged racist incident in which a supervisor defended a colleague’s use of the N-word as an example of freedom of speech.

“The City of Montreal didn’t immediately return a request for comment,” said Babineau.

The Red Coalition is seeking justice for the two firefighters by asking the human rights commission to investigate the allegations and to order the Montreal Fire Department to pay each of the men $40,000 in damages.

The City of Montreal has yet to respond to the allegations or to the complaint filed with the human rights commission.

The incident has raised questions about the culture within the Montreal Fire Department and the city’s commitment to addressing racism and supporting diversity and inclusion within its ranks.