Death of Aboriginal children: a proposed public inquiry

deux-cent-cinquante-neuf-enfantsThe Chief Coroner of Quebec plans to open a public inquiry of rare magnitude in the wake of revelations in the press about a violent or suspicious death of 259 Aboriginal children and youth in the province.

Yesterday, the opposition parties have joined their voices to that of the Assembly of First Nations to ask the government to Couillard light on this tragedy.

“The Chief Coroner [Ms. Catherine Rudel-Tessier] considering such an investigation, but no decision has been made ​​to keep it at the moment, says the spokesman for the coroner’s office, Geneviève Guilbault. As an organization dedicated to the protection of human life, it is obvious that such mortality phenomenon directly affects our mission and challenges us. ”

The Press revealed last weekend that 259 Aboriginal children and youth were killed or violently in unclear circumstances in Quebec for 15 years, including a 11 year old who ended his days in Atikamekw community.

The suspicious death rate among Inuit and First Nations children is almost four times that of the whole of Quebec youth, reveals our data compiled from 3,000 coroner reports dealing with the death of a person under 19 years in the province since 2000.

Aboriginal youth have an abnormally high level not only suicide but also to sudden infant death syndrome, lung disorders, diseases and accidents of all kinds. The problems associated with remoteness or lack of resources are the cause of many deaths.

If an investigation is launched, the coroner’s office will want to go beyond the causes and circumstances surrounding each death, since they have already been established in the investigation reports of coroners, said his spokesman.

“The goal would be better to go further by identifying certain findings and especially by questioning to know what can be done to remedy those situations; what recommendations can we do to improve the lives of these young people, and thus avoid death? To be done well, such a project requires considerable time and resources. ”

Opposition calls for investigation

In an article published yesterday, the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, Ghislain Picard, said he was shocked by the violence of some deaths revealed in our reports and urged the Quebec government to conduct a public inquiry this tragedy.

Yesterday, in an interview with La Presse, members of the Parti Quebecois and Quebec solidaire echoed the request of the indigenous leader.

“We can not think we’re going to put it in a box and forget it. This is contempt, “said the Parti Québécois MP Carole Poirier, who also campaigned this year in favor of an assumption by the Quebec issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

“There have been women. Now it’s young! There is a big problem of transparency from the federal to the situation of Aboriginal people in Canada, she said. The provincial government has a responsibility. These abuses are happening in its territory. We have a duty to act. ”

Same speech in Quebec solidaire. “It’s so alarming and capotant read [the story of these children]. But they [indigenous], they already know. This is not new, but we have to put it in is face, “said the MP Manon Massé.

“The coroner seemed to say that there is feasibility. Behind that, it’s about money. I invite the Minister for Native Affairs Geoffrey Kelley to convince the Council of Ministers to initiate an investigation. The minister must tell the Council that it does more good sense. If it is money missing, we will find it for because we find something else. ”

According to Ms. Masse is also a simple matter for Quebec to be consistent. In September 2014, the National Assembly has adopted a motion unanimously to support the demands of the First Nations and Inuit in Ottawa made for the holding of a national commission of inquiry into disappearances and murders of women Aboriginal people in Canada.

“This time, the member for QS says, there is a similar demand [about Aboriginal children] that is made to the Quebec government. We need access. We can not ask others to do what one is not capable of. ”

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