(Quebec) The coroner’s inquest, to be set in motion in the coming months at the courthouse in Sept-Iles, not only shed light on the causes of death Nadeige Guanish. It will explore the issue of suicide in Aboriginal reserves “as a whole,” says the coroner Catherine Rudel Chief-Tessier.
Marie-Luce Jourdain, the aunt of the young Guanish, hoped that this suicide is the last that afflicts his Innu community. “We have not that hope because that would be crazy hope. But we still think that this survey will improve the situation, “explains Ms. Rudel-Tessier interview
Normally, inquests are simple field investigations, conducted by a doctor or a lawyer. In the case of a public inquiry, a coroner has the power to summon witnesses in a courtroom. The recommendations emanating from such an investigation should have a social impact. “I trust that our relations have a certain influence,” says Ms. Rudel-Tessier.
The Chief Coroner confirms that this is the first time that his office is mandated to investigate a suicide in Aboriginal communities. If his schedule allows, it may be that Ms. Rudel-Tessier takes care of itself. All terms of the survey will be announced in early December. “It is too early to say how long it will last,” she says.
Sure thing, the mandate will be wide. The coroner will look quite possibly on other suicides and suicide attempts that plagued the towns and indigenous villages in recent years. “The law allows me to do a public inquiry into the death of several people […] it is clear that we will talk about other communities.”
For Ms. Rudel-Tessier, the public inquiry could resemble that of 2005 on the death of five elderly people, everywhere in Quebec. Investigation which led to the establishment by the Government of certification for private residences for seniors in 2007.
“We will not solve all the problems affecting indigenous. For example, it will not touch the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, “admits Ms. Rudel-Tessier. But she still believes in the usefulness of this survey on one point: suicide prevention.
Nadeige Guanish, 18, mother of a baby, took his own life there a little over a week. The Minister of Public Safety Peter Moreau ordered a public inquiry last Friday coroner. The Chief of Uashat mak Mani-utenam community but considers it insufficient and called the Quebec government a commission of inquiry on systemic factors affecting the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and Quebec authorities.
The federal consult with Canadians
The Liberal government will seek “a few weeks” to Canadians how it should investigate missing and murdered Aboriginal women, said the new Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Carolyn Bennett said the consultations prior to the beginning of the investigation would be announced before the end of the month. The families of the victims, representatives of the provinces and territories, community organizations will be involved in this preliminary process, has she said Monday.
These consultations will include precisely define the mandate of the inquiry commission and determine its membership, said Minister Bennett.
Experts on indigenous issues also believe that the government should establish clearly the terms of the investigation and the work schedule before proceeding. “Most people wish that I heard a broad mandate to address these complex issues,” she said.