October 21st, 2020

Legault government to replace Indigenous affairs minister with ex-police officer


By The Canadian Press on October 9, 2020.

Former Montreal police inspector Ian Lafreniere announces his candidacy for the Coalition Avenir Quebec in the South Shore of Montreal riding of Vachon in Longueuil, Que. on Tuesday, August 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

QUEBEC – The Quebec government is set to appoint a new cabinet minister to oversee Indigenous affairs.

Sylvie D’Amours is being shuffled out of the portfolio today and will be replaced by Ian Lafreniere, a former Montreal police commander.

Relations between Indigenous communities and the ruling Coalition Avenir Quebec government have been strained since the death of Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman who was subjected to slurs by staff at the hospital in Joliette, Que., before her death.

Premier Francois Legault is scheduled to address reporters with Lafreniere at 11 a.m. in Quebec City.

On Thursday, Legault repeatedly refused to express his support for D’Amours and lamented the slow process of bringing in recommendations from a commission that investigated the treatment of Indigenous people by the provincial public service.

The Quebec inquiry overseen by retired judge Jacques Viens issued a damning report last year that called on the province to apologize to First Nations and Inuit peoples for systemic discrimination.

The Viens commission laid out 142 recommendations for the Quebec government, but a year later many of them haven’t been implemented.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2020.

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