TORONTO, April 19, 2007 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) joins Quebecers, and Canadians generally, in congratulating Ms Yolande James as the first person of African descent to be appointed to a Québec cabinet post. Ms James' appointment as Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities was announced in Québec City yesterday with the swearing of Premier Charest's new cabinet.
"We are extremely pleased by this appointment for a couple of reasons," notes Dr. Ayman Al-Yassini, Senior Executive Vice President of the CRRF. "Obviously, one, for the significant breakthrough this represents for the African Canadian community in Québec. The second, is that we read this is a strong signal that the Québec Government will continue to pursue the development of an anti-racism policy for Québec started by the previous government, while decisively addressing the debate on 'reasonable accommodation' which has lately become an issue in Québec."
Ms James, a lawyer, was first elected to the Québec National Assembly in a by-election in 2004. She served as the Parliamentary Assistant to her predecessor in the post, Lise Thériault, and was a member of the Committee which heard the CRRF's brief on recommendations for a Québec anti-racism policy.
The Foundation also congratulates Mr. Sam Hamad, who is of Arabic heritage, on his appointment as Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity. Mr. Hamad had previously served as Minister of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Parks.
"We are looking forward to working with the new Québec government in making a substantial difference to the lives of racialized communities in Québec," added, Dr. Al-Yassini.