NEWS
09/30/2019 12:13 EDT

Quebec Government Urged To Apologize To Indigenous Peoples For Treatment

First Nations and Inuit are victims of "systemic discrimination," an inquiry finds.

Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS
Mohawk elder Sedalia Fazio speaks as Jacques Viens, head of Quebec's Indigenous inquiry, looks on in Montreal on Feb. 12, 2018.

VAL D’OR, Que. — A Quebec inquiry that examined relations between Indigenous communities and the provincial government has issued a scathing final report that says the province should apologize.

The Viens Commission lays out 142 recommendations for the Quebec government in its final report submitted Monday.

The first one calls for a “public apology to members of First Nations and Quebec’s Inuit for the harm caused by laws, policies, standards and the practices of public service providers.”

The inquiry presided over by retired Quebec Superior Court judge Jacques Viens was convened in December 2016 to look into how Indigenous people are treated by the police, the province’s youth protection agency, health and social services as well as the justice and correctional systems.

It wrapped up public hearings last December and published its 520-page report Monday, which concluded that Quebec’s Indigenous peoples are victims of “systemic discrimination” in their relations with those departments and agencies.

Premier Francois Legault told Radio-Canada on Monday that preceding governments have a lot to answer for and promised to follow up on the commission’s findings.

“We must change the way we provide services to Indigenous peoples in Quebec,” Legault said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 30, 2019.

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