Quebec anti-racism minister Journal de Montréal Indian variant Justin Trudau

Quebec anti-racism minister responds to ridiculous Journal de Montréal cover

Criticism is coming from almost all corners, but Legault wouldn’t denounce the newspaper by name.

This morning’s cover of the Journal de Montréal — featuring Justin Trudeau wearing Indian garb and the headline “The Indian variant has arrived” — has drawn a lot of criticism on social media and beyond, prompting the newspaper to delete their tweet of the image. It remains in print, of course, and the image is still being shared widely.

Quebec Premier François Legault was asked about it in a press conference this morning, and though he did not denounce the newspaper for its editorial gaffe (as his nemesis, Liberal leader Dominique Anglade, did), he said, “We must be careful when talking about certain communities, we must not stigmatize.”

On Twitter, writer/teacher Jean-Frédéric Martin asked Quebec anti-racism minister Benoit Charette for this thoughts, and elicited a response:

“For my part, it is the consequences that worry me. We have seen an upsurge in racist acts targeting people of Chinese descent since the start of the pandemic. With similar representations, there is a risk of fuelling prejudices.”

Quebec anti-racism minister Benoit Charette responds to ridiculous Journal de Montréal cover

The story concerns the detection of the first case of the so-called Indian variant of COVID-19 in the province’s Mauricie–Centre-du-Québec region. There are 39 other cases of the “double mutant” strain of the virus in B.C. India is currently experiencing a COVID-19 surge, with a world record 315,000 new cases just yesterday.

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