• The Assembly of First Nations Québec-Labrador applauds the collaboration between the provincial government and First Nations leading to the enactment of Bill 99
Oct 11, 2017

The Assembly of First Nations Québec-Labrador (AFNQL) and the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC) welcome the enactment of Bill 99: An Act to amend the Youth Protection Act and other provisions. The statute represents a fruitful collaboration between First Nations and the government of Quebec in the drafting of new legislative provisions to give First Nation authorities more autonomy to meet the needs of vulnerable youth and children, while helping to preserve cultural identity.

 

Although the enactment of this bill demonstrates a willingness to work with First Nations, the AFNQL wishes to emphasize that all parties need a place at the table, and that much remains to be done to ensure respect for the rights of First Nation youth and children. The AFNQL urges the Trudeau government to put words into action by bringing all forms of discrimination against First Nation children to an end, once and for all. “Children are at the heart of our lives and concerns. Every decision we make will have an impact on their future. It’s everyone’s duty to let all children thrive and achieve their full potential,” says Ghislain Picard, AFNQL Chief.

 

In June 2015, the AFNQL Chiefs adopted the Declaration of the Rights of First Nation Children, which sets out the fundamental and inherent rights of First Nation children in Quebec. “Today’s legislative amendments to the Youth Protection Act are in keeping with the spirit of the Declaration, as they implement measures favouring the safety and well-being of our youth and children while allowing them to preserve a connection with their language and culture and maintain a sense of belonging to their Nation,” affirms Chief Picard.

 

As for the FNQLHSSC, it also applauds the collaboration with the network of workers from the communities and First Nation organizations. “It’s a good example of preventive work with the First Nations, which should be repeated in every sphere of activity,” says Derek Montour, FNQLHSSC President.