A persistent incompatibility in terms of First Nations self-determination

WENDAKE, QC, December 1, 2021 / CNW Telbec / – The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) and the First Nations of Quebec and the Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC) recognize the long-awaited tabling of the bill amending the Youth Protection Act (“Bill 15”).

The AFNQL and the FNQLHSSC have repeatedly maintained that it is fundamental to reform the legislative framework for youth protection by Quebec, and this, in complementarity and respect for the affirmation of our rights, self-determination and the laws of the First Nations.

With this bill, Minister Carmant proudly affirmed having responded to the ACTIONS recommendations of the Laurent Commission report. Yet the recommendations were clear with respect to First Nations and Inuit in Quebec: “The commissioners recommend that the government Quebec support the right to self-determination and self-government in matters of youth protection by allowing aboriginal leaders to create their own laws on youth and family protection … ”. Did the government ignore chapter 9 of the report? To ensure true equality, the systemic changes that the government intends to make will have to be accessible to First Nations children, no matter where they live.

The AFNQL and the FNQLHSSC remind the Quebec government that they are still asking for the creation and establishment of a post of commissioner for children and youth, specific to First Nations, whose role and responsibilities will be defined in collaboration with the First Nations and Inuit and ratified by the Chiefs of the AFNQL. One of the recommendations for ACTIONS from the Laurent Commission echoes this request, namely “to set up a post of deputy commissioner and a team dedicated exclusively to issues surrounding indigenous children, with the Commissioner for protection and the rights of the child ”. Since the tabling of the Laurent report, this recommendation has not been implemented, even though the need is great.

The FNQLHSSC and other First Nations and Inuit organizations were invited to participate with the Ministry of Health and Social Services in working committees in order to voice their concerns. We are currently analyzing the entire law in order to verify whether our concerns and recommendations have been taken into consideration and to examine the impact of Bill 15 on our communities.

“We recognize the efforts of the Quebec government to respond to the recommendations of the Laurent Commission report, among others; this is a good step forward in terms of youth protection for the children and families of the province, but which we consider insufficient for the children of the First Nations since self-determination is completely ignored in this project of law. This shows, once again, that the First Nations must continue to fight so that their realities and their demands are finally understood and listened to ”, affirms Derek montour, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the FNQLHSSC.

“Some communities have chosen to develop their own legislation on child and family services, and they were right to look to the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Child, Youth and Family Services Act (Bill C-92). The provincial legislative framework for child welfare is not adequate, neither in its old form nor in its current form, to ensure the full autonomy of First Nations. We have been following closely the work related to this reform since the very beginning and we will be even more on the lookout today with the tabling of Bill 15 ”, indicated the AFNQL chief. Ghislain Picard.

Unfortunately, we are still facing a government that insists on imposing its own laws and procedures in the area of ​​child protection. Bill 15 does not live up to our ambitions because it does not recognize our inherent right to self-determination in matters of youth protection.

About the AFNQL
The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the political organization that brings together 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador.

About the FNQLHSSC
The First Nations of Quebec The Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (CSSSSNQ) is a non-profit organization that supports the First Nations of Quebec in achieving their objectives in terms of health, well-being, culture and self-determination.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador

For further information: Alain Garon, AFNQL, communications advisor, [email protected], 418-254-4620 – www.apnql.com; Annie Brisson-Proulx, FNQLHSSC, communications, web and social media advisor, [email protected], 418-842-1540, ext. 2304 – www.cssspnql.com

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