WENDAKE, QC, April 6, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Following yesterday's announcement by Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux that the government will be extending the mandate of the Montreal Police Service (SPVM) to assist Aboriginal women in reporting alleged cases of abuse and will be implementing additional measures to increase Aboriginal women's trust in Quebec's public security and justice systems, the Regroupement des centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec (RCAAQ) considers that the Government of Quebec has made a responsible decision in response to new and troubling allegations of abuse by Sûreté du Québec police officers.
However, the RCAAQ deplores the fact that these additional actions have been decided without drawing on the experiences undergone by women of Val-d'Or and without consulting resources at the Val-d'Or Native Friendship Centre (VDNFC), who have been directly involved in the complaint process with SPVM these past five (5) months. In this regard, Edith Cloutier, President of the RCAAQ and Executive Director of the VDNFC, notes that "since the crisis in Val-d'Or began, no follow-up mechanism has been created to keep these women informed about developments in the process. We are concerned that the application of these new actions will extend the process, thereby increasing women's uncertainty and further shaking their trust in Quebec's justice system."
Furthermore, considering that the number of Aboriginal women's allegations of sexual and physical abuse has increased and that some of these cases directly involve police officers on duty going back 10, 15 and even 20 years, it is imperative for the Government of Quebec to recognize that Aboriginal people are victims of systemic racism within the governmental structures itself. "The day after the broadcast of Enquête's program on October 22, 2015, we called for a Commission of Public Inquiry to be held on police relations with Aboriginal people and their treatment by the justice system. The goal here is to truly measure the discrimination that is taking place within these very systems, thus exacerbating the inequalities being inflicted on the Aboriginal people in Quebec and allowing a situation where they are being denied justice to persist," added Ms. Cloutier.
Since that time, Premier Philippe Couillard has yet to indicate whether his government will hold such an inquiry, which would bring fully to light these tragedies affecting not just Aboriginal women in highly vulnerable situations but Quebec society as a whole.
About the Regroupement des centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec
The RCAAQ works to defend the rights and interests of urban Aboriginal people. The Native Friendship Centres are located in the following cities: Chibougamau, Senneterre, Val‑d'Or, Montreal, Joliette, Trois‑Rivières, La Tuque, Quebec City, Saguenay and Sept-Îles.The mission of the Quebec Native Friendship Centres is to improve the quality of life of urban Aboriginal people, promote culture and foster mutual understanding between peoples.
SOURCE Regroupement des Centres d'amitié autochtones du Québec
For further information: Source: Joannie Caron, Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, 418-842-6354