MONTREAL-Indigenous leaders in Quebec are lamenting the fact that priorities for their communities have been largely ignored during the provincial election campaign.
Atikamekw Grand Chief Constant Awashish says he’s not surprised First Nations issues have been neglected, because candidates don’t need the votes of Indigenous Peoples to get elected.
Awashish says he would like to see more awareness and understanding of Indigenous communities by Quebec’s political class.
Chief Sipi Flamand of Manawan, an Atikamekw community about 250 kilometres north of Montreal, says the lack of discussion about First Nations is not remarkable.
His community is asking for a series of measures, called Joyce’s Principle, to be adopted into Quebec law.
The principle is named after Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw mother of seven who died in hospital in Joliette, Que., in 2020, after filming staff using derogatory slurs against her.
The Coalition Avenir Quebec government has refused to adopt the principle because it refers to systemic racism in Quebec’s institutions, a phenomenon the incumbent government maintains doesn’t exist in Quebec.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 30, 2022.