The former president of the Human Rights Commission opens her heart

Former Human Rights Commission Chairperson Opens heart


Chased from the presidency of the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ) in 2018 due to allegations of “serious breaches of ethics”, lawyer Tamara Thermitus is returned, for the first time, to her tumultuous passage at the head of the organization. 

Me Thermitus explained, in a long interview posted online by the media “The Walrus” on Wednesday, that he had experienced trouble as soon as he was appointed head of the CDPDJ by the government of Philippe Couillard, in 2016. At the time, the Liberal government hoped, by appointing a first black president to the Commission, to put forward a strong symbol of the fight against racism.

However, the lawyer of Haitian origin quickly faced of the racism of her colleagues within the Commission itself, she assured the Walrus.

When he took office, Mr. Thermitus had an external investigation produced on the work carried out within the commission by certain employees, which concluded that there was a need for reform. She would thus have alienated certain employees, who judged her continuously, details the media.

“I am not seen as someone who can have power over others. Black people leading white people, it's an anomaly,” summarized the lawyer in her interview.

Five months after taking office, and a few days after the announcement of consultations by the CDPDJ on systemic racism, the Québec Ombudsman has announced that it has opened an investigation into Tamara Thermitus due to anonymous complaints accusing her of harassment, psychological, mismanagement and ethical and deontological breaches.

With In hindsight, the lawyer believes that she should not have been surprised by this development. “I was acting in good faith, but I also knew that I was working for a public organization where there were problems, with people who had things to hide,” she confided.

< p>Tamara Thermitus resigned on November 29, 2018, before the National Assembly removed her from her post.