Quebec’s anti-racism task force on track to release report this fall
Group has yet to meet with Inuit representatives, but has sent an invitation to Makivik Corp.
Quebec’s anti-racism task force is on track to deliver its findings by the end of the fall, says task force member and Ungava MNA Denise Lamothe.
Global protests against systemic racism, including the Black Lives Matter movement, prompted Quebec Premier François Legault to create a new “action group” last June to look at ways to combat racism in the province.
The group is made up of seven of his Coalition Avenir Québec government ministers and MNAs, including Quebec Health Minister Lionel Carmant, Indigenous Affairs Minister Sylvie D’Amours and Ungava MNA Lamothe, Nunavik’s representative in Quebec’s legislature.
Legault had asked the group to look at priority areas such as public security, justice, education, housing and employment in Quebec, and to consider the specific realities of racialized and Indigenous communities.
Lamothe said the task force has so far met with 30 different groups across the province who represent different racialized or Indigenous communities, though it has yet to hear directly from any Inuit organizations.
“The report is due by the end of the fall, on we are on schedule,” said Lamothe, a retired Sûreté du Québec provincial police officer, who worked for many years in Nunavik.
The group is also looking at the findings of recent public inquiries, including Quebec’s Viens Commission, which looked at the discrimination Indigenous people face when accessing public services in the province.
But Lamothe said he couldn’t suggest what themes or findings the public could expect to see once the report is released—the group’s work has happened in private so far.
Lamothe said the group has learned about the challenges facing Inuit communities in Quebec, via his own interactions with regional and community organizations in Nunavik and through the work of public inquiries.
Makivik Corp. has been critical of the task force since it first launched, noting it lacks any Indigenous or Inuit representation.
After Lamothe spoke to Nunatsiaq News on Sept. 28, the MNA did reach out to invite representatives from Makivik Corp. to meet with task force members in the coming weeks.
Nunavik’s Inuit birthright organization did not respond to Nunatsiaq News’ request for a comment on its planned involvement before press time.
The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador released its own report and action plan against racism and discrimination on Sept. 29.
The assembly commissioned an online survey of non-Indigenous Quebecers earlier this year that found that 92 per cent think First Nations groups are subject to racism in Quebec, while the vast majority face barriers and discrimination accessing services like justice, education and health care.
The organization issued a number of recommendations targeted at different sectors of Quebec, calling for better education and action against racism in the province.