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Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones
Home > Press centre > Press releases > 2016 > November 18, 2016

Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales report on allegations of police violence in Val-d’Or

Improving the quality of life of Indigenous women is a priority for the Government of Quebec

Quebec City, November 18, 2016 – The Minister responsible for Native Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Kelley, the Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Ms. Lise Thériault, the Minister of Public Security, Mr. Martin Coiteux, the Minister of Justice, Ms. Stéphanie Vallée, and the Minister for Rehabilitation, Youth Protection, Public Health and Healthy Living, Ms. Lucie Charlebois, and the MNA for Abitibi-East, Mr. Guy Bourgeois, have chosen to set the record straight, following the tabling of the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales’ report on allegations of police violence in Val-d’Or.

“You will understand that we will not be commenting on the DPCP’s decision whether or not to file charges, because the DPCP is an independent decision-making body and it is their decision to make.  However, over and above the conclusions the DPCP has drawn, we are fully aware that there are broader issues to consider.  Since the allegations were revealed, in October 2015, we have taken a large number of concrete steps to help First Nations and Inuit women.  At the same time, the Government of Quebec adopted a decree which will offer to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women full and complete authority to examine the systemic causes of violence against First Nations and Inuit women and relations between indigenous communities and police departments.  We will continue to work closely with our First Nations and Inuit partners, because we all share the same priority – improving the quality of life of First Nations and Inuit women,” stated Minister Kelley.

“The Government of Quebec vehemently denounces all forms of violence against women, whether or not violence is perpetrated against indigenous women.  Women must feel safe everywhere on Quebec’s territory.  I would like to reiterate my support for each and every woman who has the courage to report acts of violence of which she asserts that she has been a victim, and I wish to remind women that resources exist and are available to assist them,” declared Minister Thériault.

Minister Vallée noted that, “the Government of Quebec has implemented many measures to assist, support and comfort the First Nations and Inuit women who have made these allegations.  The Crime Victims Assistance Centres have immediately gotten involved on the grassroots level to continue to offer confidential front-line services free of charge, and legal and psychological support that is adapted to the unique realities and needs of victims.  Please be assured that we will continue this grassroots work.”

For his part, Minister Coiteux stated, “We still wish to do more to improve the quality of life of indigenous peoples, and especially of indigenous women, so that they may feel safe.  Over the last few months, we have adopted many measures designed to reassure women.  For example, the Government of Quebec has taken steps to re-establish trust between First Nations and Inuit communities and police departments.  In this vein, we must renew our proposal to create a task force to examine and improve the quality of relationships between First Nations and Inuit communities and the police so that we can work together to address social issues that affect us all.”

Minister Charlebois declared that, « We are very sensitive to the situation, and we will offer all necessary support to women who are coping with these difficult circumstances.  We have launched and improved a network of supportive resources in order to provide adequate assistance to those who feel they could benefit from these services.”

Finally, the MNA for Abitibi-East, Mr. Guy Bourgeois, added: “Apart from the services introduced by our government to assist and support indigenous and non-indigenous women in taking steps to address their circumstances, many measures have also been introduced by socio-economic partners in the region of Val-d’Or, so as to demonstrate the importance they place in maintaining good relationships with First Nations and Inuit communities, and the importance of grassroots work to restore trust.  However, our government is determined to continue to listen to First Nations and Inuit communities so that beneficial solutions can be found to these issues.”

The Government of Quebec has also taken note of the independent observer’s report, and intends to implement some of the recommendations and potential solutions presented by Ms. Fannie Lafontaine in her report.  In this regard, it is important to note that work is currently underway to develop a plan for public hearings on issues related to racism and discrimination, and in particular racism affecting First Nations and Inuit communities.

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Online as of: November 18, 2016