As long as it refuses to recognize the systemic nature of racism and discrimination against indigenous communities, the Legault government will find itself putting only a bandage on fundamental problems, according to an Atikamekw leader.
Sipi Flamand, head of the Atikamekw Council of Manawan in Lanaudière, made the comments Thursday in the presence of other Indigenous groups in the National Assembly. They filed a petition demanding recognition of systemic racism and discrimination against Indigenous women and girls.
Earlier, the Minister responsible for Relations with First Nations and Inuit, Ian Lafrenière, said he understood the notion of systemic racism, but disagreed with it. This does not prevent his government from taking concrete action, according to him.
However, in Mr. Flamand’s eyes, Quebec’s efforts are, for the moment, something of a stab in the dark.
“If the government doesn’t recognize systemic racism and wants to do a cultural safety bill, it’s like putting a bandage on an issue. It does not address major issues and relationships with Indigenous communities,” he said at a press conference.
At his side, the chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL), Ghislain Picard, believes that the CAQ government chooses to isolate itself.
“The government’s position is exactly a reflection of a one-way relationship. A government that imposes its conditions. Just two weeks ago, a magistrate in Quebec in a youth protection case reiterated that the system is racist. What kind of more proof do we need? “, did he declare.
Shortly before, Thursday morning, the co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire, Manon Massé, tabled a motion in the Blue Room aimed in particular at reminding the Coalition avenir Québec of its past commitments to Indigenous peoples. The government refused to table the motion.