December 21, 2016
(Ottawa, Ontario)â€• The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) today welcomed the announcement from Québec Premier Philippe Couillard that an inquiry into the treatment of Indigenous peoples will soon be underway. Reports indicate the inquiry, titled Listening, Reconciliation and Progress, will hold hearings on the treatment of Indigenous peoples across a number of institutions, and will conclude in November 2018.
“I lift up the AFN Québec-Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard for his leadership on this issue and his outreach to build support for an inquiry,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “His work alongside the many individuals and Indigenous organizations made today’s announcement a reality. I want to acknowledge the brave Indigenous women and girls who in Val-d’Or and beyond who came forward to speak about their personal experiences of mistreatment and abuse at the hands of law enforcement. I say again, ‘we believe you.’ We want this inquiry to lead to a better relationship and foster reconciliation among all the peoples of the province.”
For close to a decade, the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador (AFNQL) has worked closely with many groups and individuals to press the province of Québec for a public inquiry into systemic treatment of Indigenous people.
“Today’s announcement is an essential step toward reconciliation for the Province of Québec,” said AFN Regional Chief for Québec and Labrador, Ghislain Picard. “It may be a difficult road ahead in terms of what we will hear and what we will discover, but this inquiry will undoubtedly move all of us closer to reconciliation. I trust that the inquiry will have the necessary mandate to fulfill its work thoroughly. Today and every day, we believe survivors and we believe in reconciliation. I extend my deepest gratitude to all those who fought for this inquiry — particularly the families, the Native Women’s Association of Québec, and the Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre.”
Details are still to come on the Listening, Reconciliation and Progress inquiry announced today, but it is expected to examine the treatment of Indigenous peoples in public institutions throughout the province including justice, corrections, health, social and youth services.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national advocacy organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates
Bilingual Communications Officer