Anjou politician faces backlash after venting online about doctor wearing ‘a veil’

Anjou borough councillor Lynne Shand says people have misinterpreted her comments after she said she would have recently refused to be treated by a doctor wearing a veil, if her situation hadn’t been an emergency.

“Yesterday I had an emergency ophthalmology exam, and who was the ophthalmologist? A woman in a veil… Grrrrrr…” Lynne Shand posted on her personal Facebook page.

“If it hadn’t been an emergency I would have refused to be treated by her. I’m angry because it’s really the Islamification of our country,” she said.

Shand’s comments have been condemned by fellow politicians, including Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante who said Shand should be acting “in a responsible and respectful manner.”

“The comments [from] the Anjou councillor are absolutely inappropriate and out of line for an elected official,” Plante tweeted on Sunday.

In response, Shand argued that Plante removed the crucifix from City Hall earlier in the week, and said no one is accusing the mayor of being “Christianophobic.”

“I’m against religious signs. [People say] I’m a racist. I’m Islamophobic. Why don’t they say to Mayor Plante, ‘Oh, she took down the crucifix. She’s a Christianophobic,'” Shand told CBC.

“She’s not, she’s trying to include everyone.”

City councillor in Montreal North, Abdelhaq Sari, also reacted to Shand’s post over the weekend, saying on his own Facebook page that he is “outraged by these unacceptable and xenophobic words.”

Shand told CBC that she isn’t anti-Muslim, she is however, against “integrationists.”

“We should try to live together, but living together means not wearing visible [religious] signs,” Shand said.

According to Anjou Mayor Luis Miranda, it isn’t within his power to fire her from his team, Équipe Anjou. 

He said voters will decide in the next election if they want her to stay in her role. Shand was elected in 2017 by a margin of 400 votes.

“She has a right to have her own opinions or whatever, but as an elected official I think she should have some kind of moderation on what she’s saying and what she’s doing,” Miranda said. “It’s unfortunate.”

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