Journal de Montreal has received criticism for what they place on its front page on Thursday. The Journal featured an archived photo of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in traditional Indian clothing and accompanying it with the headline:
“India’s variant has arrived. So, Justin, are we cutting ties with India quickly this time?”
Later in the afternoon, the Journal issued an apology saying that the highlight was meant to insist on the importance of protecting Canada’s borders during the pandemic.
“It was never the intention of our team to offend anyone or to target a particular group. We’re sorry if some people have been offended.”
The federal government on Thursday issued a 30-day ban on flights from India and Pakistan.
Benoit Charette, Quebec’s minister in charge of fighting racism expressed concern that Journal de Montreal is feeding the public with prejudice. He noted that since the beginning of the pandemic, cases of racist acts targeting Asians have increased.
The National Assembly poured criticism to Journal de Montreal with Dominique Anglade, a Liberal leader calling it inappropriate and very dangerous.
“What is the message? We must beware of Indians? The variant is the Prime Minister? We have to be very careful about the message we try to send to the population.”
Anglade also noted that Asian Quebecers have been targeted with racist remarks. She added that the virus has no ethnicity and all people should come together and fight the pandemic.