A newly formed activist group is calling on mayoral candidates in Montreal North to address what it calls "systemic anti-black racism in Quebec."
Members of Montreal Noir say they came together following the death of Jean-Pierre Bony, a 46-year-old black man who was shot by police with a rubber bullet during a drug raid in the borough last month.
Activists say the shooting shows little has improved in relations with police. A march organized in his memory and to honour Fredy Villanueva, an 18-year-old shot by police in 2008, ended in violence.
- Jean-Pierre Bony, man shot during Montreal North drug bust, has died
- Montreal North vigil to remember Jean-Pierre Bony, Fredy Villanueva
- Police forces fail when not reflective of diverse population, activists say
Montreal Noir wants mayoral candidates to propose solutions to what it sees as the major issues facing the borough, including racial profiling by police and a high poverty rate.
"We think it's an important time to take a stand on these issues," Robyn Maynard, a spokeswoman for the group, said Wednesday.
"So far we have not seen enough attention about this during the campaign."
The borough, located along the Rivière des Prairies in the northeastern part of the island, is one of the city's most ethnically diverse.
It also has one of the highest reported crime rates on the island, according to statistics provided by Montreal police.
Nearly 30 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, according to a recent report by Centraide.
Four candidates are in the running to become the next mayor of Montreal North, including:
- Christine Black, Équipe Denis Coderre pour Montréal
- Kerlande Mibel, Projet Montréal
- Jacques Massicotte, Independent
- Rached Teffaha, Independent
The position became available when Gilles DeGuire stepped down in January after being charged with sexual assault against a minor.