Tragedy in Quebec City

A reminder of the importance to concretely promote respect for diversity

By the members of the board of directors of ENSEMBLE for the respect of diversity: Sébastien Barangé, CGI; Marie-Christine Blain, DuProprio; Pierre B. Côté, Borden Ladner Gervais; Jean-Pierre Desrosiers, PSB Boisjoli S.E.N.C.R.L.; Lyne Gagné, Aon Risk Solutions; Jean-François Gaudreault-Desbiens, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Montreal; Brenda Gewurz, Proment Corporation; Senator Marc Gold, Senator Yoine Goldstein; François Morin, Morin Public Relations.

Montreal, February 1, 2017 - In the wake of the horrendous tragedy that occurred this past January 29th, we wholeheartedly stand with the Muslim community of Quebec and of the entire country. Events like this serve as a cruel reminder of the importance of respecting diversity and underscore the need to build an open and inclusive society where every person can thrive.

The goal, basis and fundamental purpose of ENSEMBLE for the respect of diversity is to fight intolerance and discrimination through fieldwork where youth awareness and education prevail. We are conscious of this on a daily basis: every year we meet and talk with thousands of young people, we alert them to prejudices and stereotypes and we give them concrete tools to make living together a non-negotiable aspect of our society.

To bring about a positive change, personal commitment is an indispensable and powerful tool. We are all accountable for the intolerance that rears its head in our milieu. If we want our society to be truly inclusive, every one of us must question his or her own values and promote respect for diversity on a daily basis. Young people, in particular, must be increasingly made aware of the need to counter discrimination and bullying. Diversity enriches us, but it also constantly challenges us because it sometimes shakes up our ways or customs. Awareness is a stage that must lead to openness and not to fear of others and lack of understanding.

The events in Quebec City are a huge assault on the province’s Muslim community and a challenge to our society’s fundamental values of equality, freedom and justice. We must ensure that our show of solidarity not only comforts all Muslims in Quebec but results in daily concrete actions to prevent intolerance and the prejudices that might arise around us.