This controversial nomination comes just days after the courts handed down an injunction allowing a hunter’s association to dismantle indigenous check points in the La Verendray wildlife reserve set up to enforce a moratorium on non-indigenous moose hunting on their territory.
Green Party of Quebec Leader Alex Tyrrell declared, « I was in shock to hear that Francois Legault would appoint Ian Laferniere as minister of indigenous affairs. This individual plaid a critical role justifying violence and police brutality towards student protesters including myself in 2012 in his capacity as communication officer for the Montreal Police. Indigenous people have repeatedly denounced systemic racism within our police forces. Ian Laferniere is not the person who will be able to solve these issues. His nomination is a step backwards. I encourage François Legault to reconsider. »
Green Party of Quebec Deputy Leader Halimatou Bah declared, « This appointment of a former police spokesperson from the SPVM, who continues to deny the existence of systemic racism as minister of indigenous affairs, shows once again that the Legault government is totally disconnected from the reality that indigenous communities are facing. It also shows that the fight against systemic racism towards indigenous communities is far from being over. With respect to gender parity, I am deeply concerned about the place of women in the upper echelons of government. This is the third woman minister to be replaced by a man. We also note the very limited presence of women in the management of the current health and economic crisis yet women are to a large degree over represented on the front lines. »
Dr. Catherine Richardson, Indigenous affairs spokesperson for the GPQ and director of the First People’s Studies program at Concordia University declared the following « Given the social and political climate of today, Indigenous people are burdened by systemic violence at the hands of the police. Appointing a former police officer as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs indicates a solid and contrived disregard for First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in Quebec. This is truly unacceptable and will undoubtedly result in further oppression of, and resistance by, Indigenous peoples in this province. »
Picture: La Presse Canadienne / Jacques Boissinot