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“Steps like that, which are in a way unilateral, by a government that thinks it has all the solutions, I have to be extremely skeptical about the results,” Picard said by videoconference.
The facts are already known, said Picard, who pointed to numerous studies, including the Viens Commission last fall, which concluded that First Nations and Inuit people face serious and systemic discrimination by police and other public service providers in Quebec.
The recent deaths of Rodney Levi and Chantel Moore at the hands of police in New Brunswick, in addition to the images of the violent arrest of Chipewyan chief Allan Adam in Alberta and of an Inuit young man in Nunavut, fuelled outrage across Canada, in the wake of protests against racism and brutality by police in the United States.
In a statement, Sylvie D’Amours, the Quebec minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, called National Indigenous Peoples Day an “opportunity to remember their history in a spirit of combatting inequalities, banishing injustice and respecting differences between nations while expressing their uniqueness.”