Legault defends Indigenous affairs minister amid calls for her to step down

Quebec Natives Affairs Minister Sylvie D'Amours responds to a reporter's questions at the beginning of a meeting with the Quebec government as a follow up to the Viens Report, Thursday, October 17, 2019 in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Faced with criticism, Quebec Premier Francois Legault has flown to the rescue of his Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs Sylvie D'Amours, and ensures that she is taking concrete action on the Viens report.

The report, tabled a year ago, underlines in particular that Indigenous people in Quebec are afraid to seek treatment in hospitals.

The report recommended legislation to provide "cultural security," a recommendation that "has been sleeping on the minister's desk for a year," according to Parti Quebecois (PQ) MNA from Joliette, Veronique Hivon.

Questionné sur le traitement réservé aux Autochtones dans le système de santé, le PM réfère à son comité contre le racisme. Je lui rappelle que le rapport Viens consacre un chapitre entier à cet enjeu, avec recommandations qui n’attendent que d’être appliquées! #JusticePourJoyce

— Véronique Hivon (@vhivon) September 30, 2020

Mother-of-seven Joyce Echaquan was a victim of disparaging and degrading remarks shortly before her death Monday at the Joliette Hospital.

"Everything is there... in the Viens report," said Hivon on Thursday at a news briefing at the National Assembly. "It is inconceivable! It should have been a priority for action."

Two motions were passed in Parliament on Thursday, including one urging the government to pass a law ensuring that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is (UNDRIP) taken into account.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2020.


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