John Abbott College police tech chair Paul Chablo says something happened this week at the college’s career fair that he hasn’t seen in his 25 years there. The SPVM and the SQ both came to recruit students in English.
In March, Global News aired a story about Chablo’s allegation the Montreal Police would never send an anglophone officer to recruit his anglophone students. At the time, he said the lack of English recruitment was to blame for the fact half his graduates leave Montreal to join police forces outside Quebec, like the Ontario Provincial Police or RCMP.
“They do leave, because some don’t feel comfortable in their own province,” he said in March.
But since then, Chablo says things have changed.
“Every other presentation was always unilingual French with unilingual French recruiters who had difficulty in English,” Chablo said. “This year we had English-speaking visible minority officers, one who was actually a graduate of our college who volunteered after your report.”
Students who were addressed in their mother tongue by Montreal police officers appreciated the gesture.
“Both officers who were there spoke perfect English. I felt really comfortable and it was nice,” said student Gabrielle Muller.
“Obviously this report you made opened doors and opened eyes,” Chablo said.
A few months after the initial Global News report, the SQ sent officers to speak to students in English. On Wednesday, for the first time, the SQ brought English-language recruitment pamphlets to the career fair.
“They’re pleasantly surprised,” said SQ recruitment officer Gabriel L’Heureux, a John Abbott grad himself.
“This was totally non-existent a year ago,” Chablo said.
Anglophone students praised the officers.
“It feels nice. It shows your language isn’t neglected,” said Muller, who grew up in Vaudreuil.
“I planned on doing OPP, but seeing now that the police forces are recruiting more English and bilingual people, my view is more that maybe I want to stay here for all my life,” said Austin Epps from Chateauguay.
“It shows they care. It gives us hope that one day they’ll hire us,” said Pointe-Claire native Paul Rousse.
SQ recruitment officers are proud of their first-ever English-language recruitment document, but they don’t want to stop there. The officers said they’re looking at printing documents in Spanish and Arabic in an effort to tackle the agency’s diversity problem.
“We are trying to recruit diverse populations, not only white men,” said SQ recruitment officer Eric Emard-Garcia.
The changes have Chablo feeling encouraged that his Anglo students will be staying right here in Montreal.
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