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Blanchet wants Singh to apologize or face ‘severe’ consequence


June 18th, 2020

Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet is seen during a news conference Thursday June 18, 2020 in Ottawa.

 Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet hopes Jagmeet Singh will apologize after the NDP leader accused a Bloc MP of being a racist in the House of Commons.

Singh was expelled from the House of Commons on Wednesday, for calling Bloc MP Alain Therrien a “racist” after the the Bloc Quebecois House Leader blocked an NDP motion calling out systemic racism in the RCMP.

“I hope that the leader of the NDP will apologize sincerely and if not, I hope the president of the House of Commons will be quite severe because if the only penalty is not being allowed into the room for one day and not being to speak for one day, everybody will feel entitled to do the same and trade insults and accusations on the floor,” Blanchet said during a press conference in Ottawa Thursday morning.

Earlier on Thursday, Singh defended his comments and said he was prepared to face any penalty as a result.

“I believe in what I said,” he told CTV News Channel.

The NDP leader also said he hadn’t spoken privately with Therrien after he made the accusation, but he’s not opposed to the idea. However, he said he’s more concerned with seeing systemic change.

“I want to see some systemic change,” he said. “I don’t really care to appease one person’s feelings. I want to bring in changes to the police so that I don’t see another Indigenous person be brutally beaten. I want to bring in changes to the federal policing so that people who are, need a wellness check, aren’t then killed afterwards. I want to see that.”

Singh sought the unanimous consent of the House of Commons to pass a motion that would recognize the existence of systemic racism within the RCMP and to call on the government to review the police force’s budget and the federal law that governs them, examine their use of force, and increase spending on mental health and addiction support outside of the police.

While it appeared that all of the parties supported the motion at first, there was an audible “no” from the area in the Commons where the Bloc Quebecois caucus sit.