Montreal

PQ backtracks, will support human rights commission nominee

If named, Tamara Thermitus would be the first woman of colour to lead the organization.

If named, Tamara Thermitus would be the first woman of colour to lead the organization.

Tamara Thermitus was nominated as the head of the province's human rights commission. (Quebec Human Rights Commission)

The Parti Québécois has decided to back the nomination of Quebec lawyer Tamara Thermitus as the new head of the province's human rights commission.

Thermitus is an award-winning expert in racial profiling and the fight against discrimination. If appointed, she will be the first woman of colour to lead the organization.

Earlier today, PQ leader Jean-François Lisée said his party would block her nomination. He has since confirmed to CBC that they've reviewed the file and decided to support her instead.

Justice Minister Stephanie Vallée called her a perfect candidate. Thermitus worked as a negotiator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and won the Quebec Bar Prix Mérite in 2011.

The combined support of the Liberals and PQ MNAs will make up the required two thirds support in the National Assembly.

The Coalition Avenir Québec hasn't said whether it supports the nomination, and Québec Solidaire has come out against it. The latter is voting against all nominations so far to protest a process which they feel is partisan.

Thermitus told CBC she could not comment out of respect for the process.

With files from Ryan Hicks

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