The Friendship Center and Allies condemn the comments of Member of Parliament Pierre Dufour in Val-d’Or
It is also signed by Quebec Native Women, the Regrouping of Native Friendship Centers in Quebec, Amnesty International Canada, Professor Carole Lévesque fromINRSPeggie Jérôme, from the organization Mino Obigiwasin, and professors Suzy Basile and Sébastien Brodeur-Girard, from the School of Native Studies inUQAT .
As an elected official, Mr. Dufour failed in his duty, we can read there. His speech, instead of helping to solve a major societal problem, undermines social peace, reconciliation initiatives between peoples and collaborative efforts between indigenous and non-indigenous organizations and institutions working in the field.
An evening of relaxation
On May 15, Pierre Dufour publicly defended the representatives of the city of Val-d’Or during a meeting of the municipal council where almost 80 citizens had filled the room to express their anger at the increase in violence in the city centre. Pierre Dufour deplored the way Mayor Céline Brindamour handled the problems of homelessness and crime downtown.
Sir. Dufour also degraded the report from the show Investigation by Radio-Canada about Indigenous women, in addition to criticizing the Viens Commission, which is responsible for investigating the relationship between Indigenous peoples and certain public services.
“It is unfortunate and harmful”
The signatories believe that the oratorical flights of the deputy
discrediting the testimony of brave victims and reopening barely healed wounds, both among Aboriginal women and among the general population. His remarks encourage a radicalization of the discourse, which leaves the field open to expressions of racism and systemic discrimination..
The Native Friendship Center and its allies also lament that these remarks undermine the democratic approach of the Viens Commission, an exercise
which nevertheless opens the door to a new dialogue and to responsible and positive commitments.
The interview in the show golden morningson Tuesday, the general director of the Val-d’Or Native Friendship Center, Édith Cloutier, said she was not convinced by the apologies of Pierre Dufour on his Facebook page and interviewed by Radio-Canada.
The day after the city council, I called Pierre Dufour, she says. We have always had a good working relationship and I wanted to express my indignation in person. I would tell him that he failed in his role to represent all his citizens, which includes the homeless and Aboriginal women.
” I felt no remorse and it was not followed by very concrete actions. He apologizes for offending sensitivities, but for sincere apologies we talk much more about the impact words can have on vulnerable people. It’s a shame and it’s harmful. »
Regarding the issue of homelessness and crime in the center of Val-d’Or at the heart of this file, Edith Cloutier recognizes that the situation is problematic. She reiterates that the Native Friendship Center takes important actions daily.
We cooperate with all those who are tasked with creating social peace. There is not just one solution, but if people feel unsafe it is because the reality of homelessness is growing. Faced with the unknown, it generates fear and discomfort. Our task is to reduce this feeling of uncertainty as much as possible. It is not easy to implement a number of solutions, but it requires resources, energy, money and, above all, time to do it properly in a complex context.she adds.
Possible consequences, according to native women
President of Native Women of Quebec, Marjolaine Étienne, fears Pierre Dufour’s comments on the 2015 investigative report will have an impact on Native women’s willingness to denounce abuse.
It can have consequences, it can slow them down, she says. Women took courage in 2015 to denounce a situation. We’re in 2023 and it’s showing up again. It is important to respond to unacceptable comments from a member.
Indigenous women reiterate their demands for the Government to acknowledge systemic racism and to adopt the Joyce Principle.
We hear that the Joliette event was an isolated case, we return in Val-d’Or with this case, notes Marjolaine Étienne. These are not isolated cases. Everything is connected. If we work on the recognition of systemic racism, we can at least minimize the trends we see these days, either in Val-d’Or or elsewhere. Otherwise, it is transported at different levels.