Haitian Montreal mom files human rights complaint over scouts group using book with racist songs

CIGALOU

A Haitian Montrealer is filing a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission after a troupe leader for the Metropolitan Montreal branch of the Association des Scouts du Canada gave out songbooks with racist lyrics to a group of teens that included her daughter.

The group of youths - which included one other black girl - was given copies of the songbook called Le Cigalou and told to sing a song about a little banjo-playing black person described using the "N" word. 

"All kinds of stereotypical ways possible - from being dirty and he has to wash himself with Javex water, from being cannibals," said Fo Niemi of the civil rights group CRARR which is helping with the complaint.

Other songs in the book also use racist terms and descriptions for aboriginal and arab communities.

The mother, a teacher who wishes to remain anonymous, alleges her complaints were dismissed and told that if they were offended by every song, they'd have nothing left to sing.

"We're quite shocked that not only these songs are still sung but that nobody finds anything wrong with those lyrics," said Niemi.

Spokesperson for the scouts association Dominique Moncalis insists they were also shocked to learn about this incident.

"It goes against our very values," said Moncalis in an interview with CJAD 800.

Moncalis said they're sorry for what happened, saying they have zero tolerance for racism and calling it an isolated case.

Moncalis said they're investigating how the troupe leader got the 10-year-old songbook which was out of circulation and not supposed to be used and why the complaint didn't go further. She said they will be contacting the mother and daughter. They're also sending an advisory to other troupes in the province and starting diversity training programs.