While on the show Everybody talks about itOn Sunday, the new Minister of Native Affairs Ian Lafrenière asked to be judged on his actions and promised to take action quickly to improve the living conditions of First Nations and relations with the provincial government.
Under pressure since the tragic death of Joyce Echaquan, the Prime Minister announced ten days ago that he was knocking Sylvie D’Amours out of her post as Minister of Native Affairs in favor of Mr. Lafrenière.
In response to groups that have recently come out publicly to denounce that a former police officer is in charge of this ministry, Ian Lafrenière asks that he be given a chance to show off before judging him.
“Give me my chance, give me my chance to show you what we have for plan”, indicated Ian Lafrenière during the interview with Everybody talks about it.
The member for Vachon also sees his past as a police officer as a tool rather than a ball to achieve reconciliation with the indigenous community.
“I know the police environment well enough, I worked for 28 years so I’m not saying that I have all the solutions, but I know the internal body well enough to be able to criticize it and to bring about changes, because there are changes to be made on the police side ”.
Ian Lafrenière said he had a “very clear plan”, which however did not detail, but he promises “several announcements by Christmas”.
He hinted that changes to police training could be in the government’s sights.
“It will take training, we talk about racism, we talk about intolerance, we talk about discrimination,” said the minister before adding that “it is for all Quebecers, there are many ignorance ”.
Referring to the problems of certain Indigenous communities who live on reserves where there is no electricity or running water, Ian Lafrenière indicated that his plan contained economic development projects with the First Nations, but also tourism development:
“Tourism development is a card that we do not play a lot in Quebec, but we have incredible wealth, yes with natural resources, but with the communities that are present, we can do something incredible” , he explained to Guy A. Lepage’s microphone.
As for the recognition of “systemic racism”, the new minister responsible for Aboriginal affairs has not deviated from the party line.
“There are people who are racist, there is discrimination, profiling, but to go and say that the acts that were committed in Joliette (referring to the death of Joyce Echaquan), to say that it is the system that brought this, it is this bridge that I do not make. ”
Shortly before her death, Joyce Echaquan suffered degrading insults from a nurse and a patient attendant while she was lying on her hospital bed. Mme Echaquan filmed the scene and the video of the insults circulated widely, sowing indignation among the population.
To the First Natios who would refuse to collaborate with the government if it does not recognize “systemic racism”, Ian Lafrenière replied: “it will be up to me to convince them”.
However, Ian Lafenière did not close the door to a possible recognition of “systemic racism”.
While another guest on the show, Ali Nestor, founder of the organization Ali Et Les Princes De La Rue, affirmed that the Coalition futur Quebec did not recognize the expression “systemic racism” solely for electoral reasons, Ian Lafrenière, eventually hinted that the situation could change.
“Currently, this term is not unanimous, when I say presently, it is that we mature and we change”.
The Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs also appealed to Quebecers to promote listening and reconciliation with Indigenous communities:
“I am happy, I receive it with great humility (the post of minister), but alone, I will never succeed, it is impossible. Quebeckers will have to give me a hand, we have work to do collectively. ”