Montreal

Anjou politician faces backlash after venting online about doctor wearing headscarf

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante is joining the online backlash against Anjou borough councillor Lynne Shand for her comments.

'If it hadn’t been an emergency I would have refused to be treated by her,' Lynne Shand stated on Facebook

Anjou borough councillor Lynne Shand posted comments to her personal Facebook page about having been treated by an ophthalmologist wearing a Hijab. (CBC)

Anjou borough councillor Lynne Shand is facing criticism after saying she would have refused to be treated by a doctor wearing a headscarf if her case hadn't been an emergency.

"Yesterday I had an emergency ophthalmology exam, and who was the ophthalmologist? A woman in a veil... Grrrrrr…" Lynne Shand posted on her personal Facebook page.

"If it hadn't been an emergency I would have refused to be treated by her. I'm angry because it's really the Islamification of our country."

Shand saw the doctor wearing a hijab at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital last Friday. 

Her comments have been condemned by fellow politicians, including Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who said Shand should be acting "in a responsible and respectful manner."

"The comments [from] the Anjou councillor are absolutely inappropriate and out of line for an elected official," Plante tweeted on Sunday.

Abdelhaq Sari, a City councillor in Montreal North, was also critical of Shand's post over the weekend, saying on his own Facebook page that he is "outraged by these unacceptable and xenophobic words."

In a later interview, Shand defended her post. She said that Plante removed the crucifix from City Hall earlier in the week, and said no one is accusing the mayor of being "Christianophobic."

"I'm against religious signs. [People say] I'm a racist. I'm Islamophobic. Why don't they say to Mayor Plante, 'Oh, she took down the crucifix. She's a Christianophobic,'" Shand told CBC.

"She's not, she's trying to include everyone."

Shand told CBC that she isn't anti-Muslim. She is however, against "integrationists."

"We should try to live together, but living together means not wearing visible [religious] signs," Shand said.

Anjou Mayor Luis Miranda said it isn't within his power to fire her from his team, Équipe Anjou. 

He said voters will decide in the next election if they want her to stay in her role. Shand was elected in 2017 by a margin of 400 votes.

"She has a right to have her own opinions or whatever, but as an elected official I think she should have some kind of moderation on what she's saying and what she's doing," Miranda said.

"It's unfortunate."

About the Author

Elysha Enos

Journalist

Elysha Enos is a journalist with CBC Montreal.

With files from Steve Rukavina and Valeria Cori-Manocchio

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