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Subjects: WOM, NTA, CPG

Ministerial statement - The Premier offers an apology to Québec's First Nations and Inuit people on behalf of the Québec government

QUÉBEC CITY, Oct. 2, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - On Wednesday the Premier of Québec, François Legault, made the following ministerial statement in the National Assembly:

"The report of the Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec was made public on Monday, and the Commissioner's findings are devastating for Québec. The report describes disturbing situations in which members of Indigenous nations were subjected to discrimination.

These findings make painful reading. What is at stake here is human dignity. Whether we are children, women or men, whether we are from an Indigenous or a non-Indigenous background, we are all human beings and entitled to our dignity.

Indigenous women have borne the brunt of the harm described in the Commission's report. The Québec state has not done enough, and the situation is unworthy of Québec society.

As a result, I offer Québec's First Nations and Inuit people the heartfelt apologies of the Québec state as a whole. It has failed in its duty toward you, and today it seeks your pardon.

My thoughts go especially to the Indigenous women who experienced the sad events in Val-d'Or, and I would like to salute their courage.

An apology is necessary and important, but it is not enough. We must understand the reasons that led to this situation, and from that foundation we must bring about change.

Just like for Québec as a whole, we must do more and do better. We must work alongside the First Nations and the Inuits. As I mentioned in my inaugural speech, we must work together to develop Québec for the common good of our respective nations. Today, with this statement, I can confirm that Québec will answer that call.

I must also emphasize the responsibility of the Canadian government?not to shirk our own responsibility, but to call for ongoing cooperation.

From this point on, the government will carefully examine each of the recommendations made and cooperate with the Indigenous communities.

The report highlights the fact that a lack of understanding of Indigenous realities undermines the relationship between our nations. Too many stereotypes about Indigenous people still circulate. We must work to recognize, on a factual and daily basis, the existence of the nations with which we share our territory. We must learn more about, and learn to appreciate, each other in order to draw closer together.

The Commission's observations are clearly devastating, but I would like to end on a hopeful note. We can and we must improve our relationship and bring about the conditions that will allow Québec's Indigenous and Inuit communities to flourish. We are not doomed to failure, because alongside all the mistakes and tragedies noted in the Commission's report, there are examples of successful cohabitation between our respective nations that show us what is possible.

To succeed in this endeavour, the Québec government must avoid trying to impose its own solutions. The key word is "respect". The role of the Québec government and Québec nation is to stand alongside the Indigenous nations in good times and in bad. In every case, the absolute minimum targeted must be respect for human dignity and for our deep-held values. This is our duty. This is the promise we all?elected officials, public servants and Quebecers?must make.

Thank you."

SOURCE Cabinet du premier ministre

News published on 2 october 2019 at 15:05 and distributed by: