Ian Lafrenière, of Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), Manon Masset, of Quebec Solidaire (QS ), Gregory Kelly of the Liberal Party of Quebec (QLP ), and Alexis Ganet-Lebrun of the Parti Québécois (QP ), took part in the bilingual exchange at HEC Montréal.
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.
The topics :
Governance and self-determination
Territory, resources and economy
Health and education
Protection of languages and cultures
Four questions were asked per topic and each candidate had one minute to answer them.
This short speaking time allowed only a brief exposition of the positions of each.
This is an opportunity for our nations to be informed, without encouraging them to vote, and for the Quebec population as a whole to be aware of these issues.however, stressed the head ofAFNQL Ghislain Picard opening the debate.
We felt it was important and essential to have a debate that looked at the issues that affect all of our communities.he added.
I hope it’s not just a bracket, added Mr. Picard. I hope that the discussed issues will find a place in the campaign.
No time was allocated for direct exchange between candidates. But that didn’t stop light jabs at Ian Lafreniere, the outgoing minister responsible for aboriginal affairs.
We have to use the knowledge of the ancestors, we have seen it a lot for wildlife conservation, but also to save the planet, we can do itlaunched Mr. Lafreniere at one point.
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, for Jan Lafreniere, participating in this debate above all made it possible to defend his record and highlight the achievements of his government.
Sometimes he even avoided certain questions to emphasize the work done by the Lego government. For example, when asked about changes that should be made to the teaching of history in Quebec schools, Mr. Lafrenière returned instead to creating housing for aboriginal students.
Confronting health and systemic racism
It was the health-related issues that made it possible to highlight the differences between the four countries present.
When it comes to acknowledging systemic racism and cultural safety, Ian Lafreniere falls short.
We made a few changes on the pitch, he said in particular. Writing a cultural safety manual, training healthcare workers […] There is still a lot of work to do, we are in action, we have made great progress.
This is the impact of colonization, it is that there are some who pay a very, very, very high pricesaid Manon Massey.
There is work to be done because, yes, there is systemic racism, she continued. We need to change paradigms, and that starts with the supposed leadership of our head of state, in particular, who recognizes that it exists.
For his part, Gregory Kelly recalled that QLPacknowledges the existence of systemic racism.
Apply Joyce’s principle and cultural safety as soon as possiblehe knocked.
institutional racismMr. Gagné-Lebrun pointed out.
In our understanding, it is more than a structure that bears responsibility. There are laws, scriptures, practices and policies that arehe explained.
Far from a heated debate, however, this exchange allowed the four candidates present to publicize their parties’ commitments to Aboriginal peoples.
Respect and relations between nations must be restored, Mr. Kelly stressed. We must stop doing politics of division with the aboriginal peoples of Quebec. Words matter.
On the PQ side, Mr. Gagné-Lebrun rather spoke of a desire for continuity.
We want to present what we have already done in the Parti Québécois in history, we remember René Lévesque in 1985 with the recognition of indigenous nations, of the peace of the brave, he recalled. We want the right to self-determination for Quebec, and therefore for First Nations.
Ms. Massé mentioned in particular the Québec Solidaire climate plan
From the very beginning, we have positioned the equal-to-equal, hand-in-hand role that we want to have with First Nationsdid she say
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 provide answers to families searching for their missing childrenin turn supported Mr. Lafrenière.
The event was open to the public and several dozen people had come to attend.
The APTN network also aired the debate on social media. You can also watch the debate on his YouTube channel. (New window).