Supplementary Report on Quebec Supplementary Report on Quebec

Supplementary Report on Quebec

As part of its final report, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls issued a separate supplementary report on Quebec. The report is a product of Quebec's provincial Commission of Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Quebec. The Quebec government of then-Premier Philippe Couillard, announced the creation of the commission on August 9, 2016, six days after the National Inquiry was launched. The National Inquiry decided to issue the report of the Quebec commission "in order to give particular attention to the issue of violence against First Nations women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people in Quebec. This report is a complement to the National Inquiry's Final Report, which includes a more thorough treatment of the realities of Inuit in Canada, including Inuit in Quebec."

The introduction to the supplementary report on Quebec explains a number of differences between the experience in Quebec and the rest of Canada, including the political and socio-historical context, language and cultural barriers, the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in 1975, the unique experience of religious institutions' management of health, social and educational services, as well as the treatment of orphans, young offenders and children considered "illegitimate" and their placement in institutions of a religious nature. Another difference cited is the larger number of Indigenous police forces in Quebec to which victims of violence must turn to for support.

The introduction points out:

"Quebec's political and socio-historical context is different from the Canadian context. The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) in 1975 and the Northeastern Quebec Agreement in 1978 represent so-called 'modern' treaties concluded between the Crown and First Nations that are applicable in what is now called Quebec, for example the 1760 Huron-British Treaty and the Treaty of Oswegatchie.

"The consequences of colonization and settlement took hold quickly after the arrival of the Europeans, but other genocidal policies sometimes occur in distinct time periods within the history of Quebec, even if they represent many of the same consequences for Indigenous communities in the rest of Canada. One example is the "Indian" residential schools. The first school opened in 1931 in Fort George, and so at least two generations of First Nations in Quebec who spent significant parts of their lives in Indian residential schools are living together to this day.

"Another major difference is the fact that a large proportion of First Nations in Quebec, particularly those who are not signatories to the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, use French as a first or second language. This has a significant impact on building solidarity between Indigenous Peoples. The language barrier makes communication more difficult among Indigenous women in Quebec and between them and their sisters elsewhere in Canada. In particular, this can prevent the sharing of culturally adapted practices and resources for preventing violence and ensuring well-being in the communities.

"The institutional context in Quebec is also unique. Until recently, religious congregations managed health and social services and educational services. They played a major role in education, in providing care to the sick and in ensuring child welfare until the 1960s. It was at that time that the state gradually took control of the institutions that were providing these services. For example, in 1960, religious congregations still operated 104 facilities, or 35 per cent of hospitals in Quebec, and were responsible for the internal governance of 23 secular hospitals.

"Similarly, up until the 1960s orphans, young offenders and children who were considered 'illegitimate' were put in the care of religious congregations, which favoured placements in institutions. Elsewhere in Canada, child welfare has, for a long time, been under the responsibility of secular agencies mandated by the state, with a preference for placing children in foster homes or facilitating their adoption. This specific socio-historical context means that the effects of colonization could have been experienced differently in Quebec.

"In terms of public safety, Quebec has the highest number of independent Indigenous police forces of any province. Thus, when Indigenous women experience violence in Quebec, the Indigenous police forces are often the ones called to act as first responders."

The Quebec report goes into the colonial experience of the particular situation facing Indigenous women and girls in Quebec, presenting the historical and social context in which crimes against them are committed. It also informs of the scope of the problem of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and potential solutions. The cases of various individual victims are also recounted. It concludes with 21 calls to justice addressed to the Quebec government.

To read the complete supplementary report on Quebec, click here.

This article was published in

Volume 49 Number 21 - June 8, 2019

Article Link:
Supplementary Report on Quebec


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