This controversial appointment comes just days after the courts issued an injunction allowing a hunters' association to dismantle native checkpoints in the La Verendrye wildlife reserve. The native community had asked the government for a five-year moratorium on moose sport hunting on their territory.

Quebec Green Party leader Alex Tyrrell said he was "shocked to learn that François Legault will appoint Ian Lafrenière as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. This individual played a crucial role, during the 2012 protests, in justifying police violence and brutality against student protesters, including myself, as a communications representative for the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal. Aboriginal people have repeatedly denounced systemic racism within the police force. Ian Lafrenière is not the person to solve these problems. His appointment is a step backwards. I strongly encourage François Legault to reconsider his decision."

Halimatou Bah, deputy leader of the Green Party of Quebec, declared that "the appointment of a former SPVM police spokesman who continues to deny the existence of systemic racism as the new Minister of Aboriginal Affairs shows once again that the Legault government is totally out of touch with the reality facing Aboriginal communities. It also shows that the fight against systemic racism towards First Nations is far from over. As far as gender parity is concerned, I'm deeply concerned about the place of women in the upper echelons of government. This is the third female 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 extent over-represented on the front line."

Catherine Richardson, Aboriginal Affairs Spokesperson for the Quebec Green Party and Director of Concordia University's Aboriginal Peoples Studies Program, stated that "given the current social and political climate, Aboriginal peoples are overwhelmed by the systemic violence at the hands of the police. The appointment of a former police officer to the position of Minister of Aboriginal Affairs shows a strong contempt for the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Quebec. It is truly unacceptable, and will undoubtedly lead to greater oppression and resistance from the Aboriginal peoples of this province."


Photo: The Canadian Press/ Jacques Boissinot





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