Aboriginal peoples in Quebec : the inequalities that must be corrected

News 24 January, 2018
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    Julia Posca

    Wednesday, 24 January 2018 14:38

    Wednesday, 24 January 2018 14:41

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    Every day for the past six months, accounts reach us of the Commission of inquiry on the relations between the Native peoples and some public services in Quebec, chaired by the retired judge Jacques Viens. Recall that in the fall of 2015, the emission Survey had met with aboriginal women in Val d’or witnessing the abuse and abuse perpetrated by police officers of the Sûreté du Québec. Analyzing the records were transferred to the police Department of the city of Montreal, in connection with these allegations, the Director of criminal and penal prosecutions had decided, a year later, not to bring charges against these police officers.

    It is shortly after this decision that the government of Philippe Couillard had set up the Commission Come, whose mandate is to investigate possible discriminatory practices that have courses to Aboriginal people in the delivery of some public services. The judge Just has until November 30, 2018, to make its final report.

    The Commission heard on Monday a former social worker who made the intervention in the communities of Lac Simon and Kitcisakik in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. It was stressed that the Directorate of youth protection (DYP) had a discriminatory attitude towards aboriginal families, since the employees of the organization did not generally account of the aboriginal reality in their assessment of the records to which they were subject. This would explain the high rate of aboriginal children entrusted to the DYP.

    Last week, a citizen of Manawan has referred to the treatment of complaints of sexual assault, including the slow pace discourages many to break the silence and night, ultimately, to the confidence of aboriginal women to the justice system and its effectiveness in responding to their requests.

    Together, these stories weave the fabric of the systemic discrimination experienced by Aboriginal people in Quebec. To this effect, the inequalities that separate aboriginal peoples from the rest of the population, illustrates with force the situation, as reported in a note that the IRIS was published last week. First Nations, Métis and Inuit remain, if we rely on the most recent data available, a disadvantage to all points of view compared to non-Aboriginal people.

    More than a quarter (27 %) of them have no diploma or degree. To 12.1 %, their unemployment rate is two times higher than that of the rest of quebec adults aged 25 to 64 years of age. The after-tax income median of Aboriginal peoples in Quebec was 25 $ 386 in 2015, an income was 14.3 % lower than that of non-Aboriginal people. Such an economic condition is not foreign to the poor living conditions of these communities. In fact, nearly one in five Aboriginal people lived in housing run down, compared to less than 7 % of the non-aboriginal population. In the communities (commonly referred to as reserves), it is more than one out of three Aboriginal who is in this situation. In addition, 12 % of them, and even 40 % of the Inuit, have access to food of which the quality or quantity does not guarantee a healthy diet (compared to only 6 % in the rest of the population). It should be added that in Canada, Aboriginal people are more likely to be victims of crimes, including violent crimes (28 % vs. 18 %). Worse, the fact of being Indigenous increases the chances for a woman to be a victim of domestic violence and various other offences up to murder.

    In front of a statement if distressing which enables us to understand in part the mobilizations aboriginal people in recent years, we cannot stand idly by. The work currently carried out by the Commission Just takes here all its sense. Indeed, access to public services is an effective way to combat the inequalities experienced by some groups of the population. It is important, therefore, to correct the current situation and to ensure that Aboriginal people can rely on quality public services and accessible, but also adapted to their particular realities.

    In order to avoid reproducing the patterns of colonialism in the past, it would be necessary that the government programs and services that affect them are designed in collaboration with indigenous peoples. In this sense, it is important to respect the United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, which is now a signatory to the Canada, in order to allow First Nations, Métis and Inuit to determine for themselves the best means to realize their livelihood and their emancipation.