Cathy Wong to lead Montreal's effort to curb racism, discrimination

"It’s an honour and an enormous responsibility” to be given the position, said the councillor for the Peter-McGill district, who served as speaker of Montreal city council until her appointment.

Wong will be in charge of acting on recommendations in report detailing systemic racism in city institutions

Montreal Coun. Cathy Wong outlines her plans to combat racism, discrimination

CBC News Montreal

1 year ago
Montreal has named Cathy Wong the city's executive committee member in charge of fighting racism and discrimination. 4:46

Montreal has named Coun. Cathy Wong the city's executive committee member in charge of fighting racism and discrimination. 

Speaking during Wednesday's executive committee meeting, Wong, a city councillor for the Peter-McGill district who served as city council speaker until Wednesday, said "it's an honour and an enormous responsibility" to be given the position.

As the person in charge of diversity, the French language, and the fight against racism and discrimination, Wong will be tasked with developing actions based on recommendations outlined in a report by the city's consultation office that detailed racism and discrimination across municipal institutions.

The report, released Monday by the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM), outlined 38 recommendations that call for sweeping changes: greater transparency, specific targets and accountability at the executive level, for everything from hiring for city positions to policing to cultural programs to housing.

Wong said the OCPM report's findings are alarming and present the city with significant challenges, but she is committed to building an inclusive city. 

In an interview with CBC News, Wong said she is working on an "ambitious plan," which would include hiring targets for visible minorities and anti-discrimination training for city managers, "making sure that in every level and in every service, we talk about racism and discrimination."

"I commit to working tirelessly with my co-workers on the executive committee so Montreal becomes an exemplary city in terms of diversity and inclusion," Wong said. "Especially as a major employer, the city needs to lead the way."

Wong said Projet Montréal is also looking for racially diverse candidates for the next municipal election in 2021.

She echoed the sentiments expressed by many people quoted in the OCPM report, who said they were tired of having reports on systemic racism and analysis of the problems without sufficient action.

"I am tired, too, of hearing analysis and consultation and reports. I need action, too, and I'm really committed to this," Wong said. 

With files from Sean Henry


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