Ian Lafrenière, of Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), Manon Massé, of Quebec Solidaire (QS ), Gregory Kelley, of the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP and Alexis Gagné-Lebrun of the Parti Québécois (QP ), participated in a bilingual exchange at HEC Montreal.
Only the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) did not accept the invitation ofAFNQL .
Moderated by Cree lawyer Marie-Ève Bordeleau, the debate was divided into four main topics.
Management and self-determination
Territory, resources and economy
Health and education
Protection of languages and cultures
Four questions were asked on the topic and each candidate had one minute to answer them.
This short speaking time allowed only a brief explanation of the positions of each of them.
This is an opportunity for our peoples to be informed without encouraging them to vote and for the general population of Quebec to be aware of these issues.however, underlined the leader ofAFNQL Ghislain Picard, opening the debate.
We felt it was important and necessary to have a discussion that focused on issues that affect all of our communities.he added.
I hope it won’t just be a parenthesis, Mr. Picard also said. I hope that the issues discussed will find their way into the campaign.
There was no time set aside for direct exchanges of views between the candidates. But that didn’t stop light jabs being sent to Ian Lafrenière, the outgoing minister responsible for aboriginal affairs.
We need to use ancestral knowledge, we’ve seen a lot of it to protect wildlife, but we can also do it to save the planetat some point it marketed Mr. Lafrenière.
To save the caribou too, we can do itthen dropped Manon Massé, citing disagreements between the CAQ government and First Nations on the issue.
Moreover, Ian Lafrenière’s participation in this debate primarily allowed him to defend his record and highlight the achievements of his government.
At times, he even avoided certain questions to emphasize the work done by the Legault government. For example, when Mr. Lafrenière was asked about changes to be made to the teaching of history in Quebec schools, he instead reverted to creating housing for aboriginal students.
Opposition to health and systemic racism
It was the health issues that made it possible to emphasize the differences between the four parties present.
When it comes to acknowledging systemic racism and cultural security, Ian Lafrenière remains brief.
We made some changes on the spot, he said in particular. Development of a cultural safety manual, training of health workers […] There is still a lot of work ahead of us, we are in action, we have made great progress.
That is the effect of colonization, that there are some who pay a very, very, very, high pricesaid Manon Massé.
There is work to be done because yes, there is systemic racism, she continued. We need to change paradigms, and that starts especially with taking the lead of our head of state who recognizes that he exists.
Gregory Kelley, for his part, recalled that QLPrecognizes the existence of systemic racism.
Implement Joyce’s principle and cultural safety as soon as possiblehe hammered.
institutional racismpointed out Mr. Gagné-Lebrun.
In our understanding, it is more than just the structure that is responsible. There are laws, writings, practices and principleshe explained.
Far from a fiery debate, however, the exchange allowed the four candidates present to announce their parties’ commitments to indigenous peoples.
Respect and relations between nations must be restored, Mr. Kelley emphasized. We must stop doing politics of division with the aboriginal people of Quebec. Words are important.
On the PQ side, Mr. Gagné-Lebrun spoke more of a desire for continuity.
We want to present what we have already done in history in the Parti Québécois, we remember René Lévesque in 1985 with the recognition of indigenous peoples, the peace of the brave, he recalled. We want the right to self-determination for Quebec, and therefore for First Nations.
In particular, Ms. Massé mentioned the Québec Solidaire climate plan
From the beginning, we have built on the role of equal with equal, hand in hand, which we want to have with First Nationsshe said.
We will continue to build residences so Aboriginal students can continue to follow their dreams, we will continue to improve the health system […] and we will continue to give answers to families looking for their missing childrenfor his part, he supported Mr. Lafrenière.
The event was open to the public and several dozen people attended.
The APTN network also broadcast the debate on social networks. You can also watch the debate on his YouTube channel. (New window).