Disappointed with the attitude of the Legault government, the First Nations turned to the people and invited Quebeckers to come forward in favor of reconciliation and the fight against discrimination.
The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), Ghislain Picard, called on Quebecers to participate, Thursday, in the March for Truth and Reconciliation which will take place in Montreal. The Assembly of First Nations also encourages all Quebecers who want to be their allies to post a photo or video of themselves on social networks with the keywords #AgirContreLeRacisme and # FirstNations.
“Over the next few months, we will be providing opportunities and ideas for Quebeckers to take concrete action,” explained Chief Picard.
“There are a lot of organizations that have been mobilizing for a year and we want to continue in this spirit, to maintain alliances and create others so that the wave takes enough magnitude that it will become difficult or impossible for the political class, the political actors, to remain indifferent ”, he affirmed.
Quebecers ahead of the government
Mr. Picard presented the results of a Light Survey in Montreal on Wednesday, which he said show that Quebecers are well ahead of their government in their attitudes toward Aboriginal nations.
According to this survey, three quarters (76%) of Quebecers are ready to take action to fight racism and discrimination. In addition, a quarter of respondents say that their perception of the first peoples has improved over the past year.
But above all, underlines Ghislain Picard, when asked if the government has taken significant steps to fight against racism and discrimination, they are more numerous (41%).
The “denial” of systemic racism
Ghislain Picard did not hide his irritation at the refusal of the Legault government to endorse the notion of systemic racism. “There is, obviously, systematic denial at the government level. “
Nadia Robertson, advisor to the Council of the Micmac Nation of Gaspé and co-spokesperson for the Council of Elected Women of the AFNQL, added that “the reaction of the Government of Quebec is very disappointing. How can he really claim to tackle an evil that we dare not even name? Systemic racism exists and it must be fought with vigor, determination and above all solidarity between peoples. “
Progress is still possible
Despite everything, Ghislain Picard does not see this as an obstacle to the advancement of the indigenous cause. He recognizes, for example, that concrete actions have been taken to redress the situation at the Lanaudière Hospital Center in Joliette, where Joyce Echaquan died under a shower of racist insults exactly one year ago on Tuesday.
For Chief Picard, a surge in the population should help put pressure on the government to take the situation of the First Nations more seriously.
The Léger survey was conducted from September 24 to 26 with 1,000 respondents. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.