By Marc Lalonde
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The election of an Innu woman to the National Assembly in Monday night’s provincial election as part of the government is an important step forward for relationships between Indigenous peoples and the Quebec government, Kahnawake’s Grand Chief said late Tuesday afternoon.
The election of Kateri Jourdain Champagne as part of the governing Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government as the representative for the riding of Duplessis gives Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer hope for a better relationship between the Indigenous peoples and the government.
In fact, she said, Sky-Deer is hoping that Quebec Premier Francois Legault might appoint Jourdain Champagne to the Indigenous Affairs portfolio.
“That’s not to say (outgoing Indigenous Affairs minister Ian) Lafreniere hasn’t given it an honest effort but we are hopeful that relationship could be a lot closer with an Indigenous perspective.
We are hopeful she’ll be named Indigenous Affairs minister,” Sky-Deer said.
Sky-Deer said she and Assembly of First Nations for Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) Chief Ghislain Picard were bandying the idea around on election night.
“We were texting each other, saying, wouldn’t it be cool if she were named to the portfolio,” Sky-Deer said.
Jourdain Champagne ended a 46-year Parti Quebecois stranglehold on the riding, defeating PQ candidate Marilou Vanier. The PQ had held the riding since the party’s founding in 1976.
Jourdain Champagne gathered more than 45 percent of the ballots cast, hammering Vanier by more than 20 percentage points.
“We wish her great success,” Sky-Deer added. “We are confident that her heritage will be an asset to her and that, hopefully, as an Indigenous woman Member of the National Assembly, she will be able to inspire a greater understanding by the CAQ of the challenges faced by Indigenous peoples across the province _ something that has been sorely lacking during the first term of the Legault government.”
Marc Lalonde is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter who works for
IORI:WASE. The LJI program is federally funded. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.