WATCH: Public hearings begin into treatment of indigenous people
The first public hearings into relations between Indigenous people and certain public services in Quebec are being heard Monday in Val-d’Or.
The commission is being chaired by retired Superior Court judge Jacques Viens, who worked in the Abitibi region for more than 25 years
The mandate on the hearings will be to recommend measures to be implemented by the Quebec government and Indigenous authorities to prevent or eliminate all forms of violence, discriminatory practices and different treatment in providing public services to Indigenous people.
The commission intends to investigate and analyze the situation over the last 15 years in order to avoid some of the troubling situations in providing health and social services, youth protection, corrections, policing and justice services.
"There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s a problem here. That’s an issue. Every other week we hear of a situation. Just last week somebody posted on Facebook that they were trying to get some services in a regional hospital and they felt they were treated differently from a Caucasian person. So right there that’s one example, but I’m sure there are many others," said Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
Hearings are being held in Val-d'Or, as well as in the affected Indigenous communities and other regions of Quebec, if the commission deems it necessary.
These hearings were announced in 2016 due to allegations of police violence in Val-d'Or involving Indigenous women.
The Quebec inquiry is being held in addition to the federal inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.
Both inquiries are expected to file reports late in 2018.