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  • Nikki Mantell

Get the facts first

Here’s a challenge to Gatineau Hills residents on social media: Before you hit the keyboard, ask yourself, “Does my expression of outrage on this particular issue going to do good, or further add to the harm?” Even better: “Can I wait to find out all the facts before weighing in with potentially damaging comments?”

This week’s story on the alleged hate-motivated assault at the Depanneur Boucherie M.S. in Masham is serious and disturbing, and by all means merits close scrutiny. Expressions of racism – even if disguised as a public health issue – can not be tolerated. The victim has wisely sought the help of the National Council of Canadian Muslims to make sure the incident is not ignored, as so many race-based complaints are, and instead gets the professional attention it deserves.

Similarly, calls for the MRC des Collines Police to conduct a deeper investigation of its own handling of the issue are also merited, especially in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. Despite Premier Legault’s assertions that Quebec does not suffer from systemic racism, recent studies have shown that it, indeed, does in Quebec’s police forces. Maybe the case was handled correctly – we don’t know – but this incident is a good opportunity for our local force to look more closely at how it conducts itself regarding racial issues as a matter of good practice. Every police force in North America should be doing as much.