The Green Party unveils its platform on aboriginal rights

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The leader of the Green Party of Quebec, Alex Tyrrell, took the stage this Wednesday, September 21, at Cabot Square in Montreal, to unveil the party's electoral platform on aboriginal rights. 

The colonization of the territories that are now part of Canada and Quebec was extremely violent towards the first peoples. The governments, in collaboration with the Catholic Church, perpetrated a genocide against the first peoples of these territories, and the time has come to acknowledge the facts and take concrete action to bring justice, to document the events and to ensure that the modern state does all it can to heal the wounds. The Green Party of Quebec believes that it is necessary to recognize and stop the genocide against Aboriginals. The Green Party of Quebec is also committed to ceding large sections of territory to aboriginal nations, in order to return lands taken from them without right by colonizers. 

The issues of systemic discrimination against aboriginal people are ongoing. The situation must be corrected while healing the wounds endured since colonization, which are well known and documented, and the various commissions have already formulated concrete, feasible and fair recommendations. What's missing is the political will to act on these commissions' recommendations. The Green Party of Quebec believes that the time has come to take concrete action and build a future together with First Peoples by recognizing their rights and connections to their lands. We have a duty to act now, and we will.

The Quebec government must also officially recognize systemic racism and actively contribute to its elimination through various measures outlined by Coroner Gehane Kamel. Stricter supervision and swifter disciplinary measures must also be formulated to respond to the suffering that systemic racism causes Aboriginal peoples in the healthcare system. What happened to Joyce Echaquan at the hands of the healthcare system is unacceptable and shocking, but sadly far from an isolated case. Racism exists in the Quebec healthcare system. It is a key place where systemic racism is practised in Quebec, and we all have a duty to eliminate racism everywhere in Quebec, whether in our healthcare system, in education, in the hands of the police or anywhere else.

In order to cede significant power to aboriginal peoples within Quebec democracy, the Green Party of Quebec is committed to offering one seat in the National Assembly for each of the 11 aboriginal nations, and one for aboriginals living outside communities, for a total of 12 seats. This gesture of reconciliation could give Aboriginals a choice of government in the event of a minority parliament, while promoting dialogue, listening and exchanges within parliament. The Green Party of Quebec also supports the formal recognition of aboriginal governments in the Canadian Constitution, so that they can enjoy the same recognition as provincial and federal governments.

The Green Party of Quebec also supports the self-determination of aboriginal peoples. In terms of land management, First Nations should have the power to block development (or exploitation) projects on their ancestral lands. On the social front, Aboriginals should have more control over social services, notably to reduce the number of Aboriginal children sent to non-Aboriginal foster families. 

Finally, the Green Party of Quebec maintains that the Indian Act remains racist and colonialist to this day, and should be overturned to allow First Nations the opportunity to transition to traditional governance. A Green Party of Quebec government will put resources in place to restore endangered languages, and will help young aboriginals learn their languages through free courses as we propose for French and English.

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