'Absolutely inappropriate:' Councillor's Islamophobic comments spark outrage

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante called Anjou borough councillor Lynne Shand's post about a Muslim ophthalmologist "out of line for an elected official."

A borough councillor in Anjou is under fire for tweeting anti-Muslim comments about being treated by an ophthalmologist who wore a veil.

“A veiled woman…grrrrrr…if it hadn’t been an emergency I would have refused to be treated by her…,” Équipe Anjou member Lynne Shand wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday.

“I am raging because this is really the Islamization of our country, we must accept everything, give them reasonable accommodations, take down our crucifix (and I’m not a believer) etc etc,” she wrote.

In further comments, Shand said she was not questioning the doctor’s competence, since “she was excellent…I am just questioning that they are Islamicizing Quebec and soon it will be like France.”

She goes on so say that Muslims “come here to Islamicize QUEBEC AND THAT IS NOT FAKE NEWS,” that they want to covert the planet “by massive immigration and multiple births,” adding that “I am far from being a racist.”

Shand adds that “the veil is extremist just like white supremacists.”

Images of the post, which no longer appears to be available on Facebook, continue to circulate on social media sites.

At 2 a.m. Sunday, Shand posted a photo on Facebook that said: “False people have an image to maintain. Authentic people don’t care.”

Shand’s comments on the veil come as the Coalition Avenir Québec government is on the verge of tabling a bill banning religious symbols in the public civil service.

Mayor Valérie Plante denounced the comments on Sunday.

re absolutely inappropriate and out of line for an elected official. Public officials have a responsibility to remain above the fray and to act in a responsible and respectful manner.”

Fo Niemi, executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), said the mayor and council of Anjou should denounce the comments and ask Shand to resign.

“It tarnishes the Anjou borough to have someone like this spewing words of hate,” he said.

As an elected official, Shand’s words carry more weight than those of a private individual, he noted: “These words not only hurt but put women who wear the hijab in jeopardy.”

In February, a city councillor in Gatineau, Nathalie Lemieux, apologized and said she would step down as deputy mayor after saying in an interview that  it was normal to be afraid of immigrants since they “did bad things with their trucks”. Lemieux said she did not believe Islamophobia existed in Quebec and praised Premier François Legault for saying there was no need for an anti-Islamophobia day.

In her profile for the 2017 election campaign, Shand, a member of Anjou Mayor Luis Miranda’s Équipe Anjou, describes herself as the daughter of a Scottish immigrant who had lived in the borough since 2004. She said she was an artist with a painting studio in the borough and spoke French, English and Italian.

This story will be updated…