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Quebec begins hearings in inquiry into relations between Indigenous people and province’s public service

Posted on 14 February 2018 by admin

Mohawk elder Sedalia Fazio says the timing of the hearings is difficult given the not-guilty verdict in the death of Colten Boushie in Saskatchewan.

MONTREAL—An inquiry that has been examining the relations between Indigenous people in Quebec and the public service has begun two weeks of hearings in Montreal.

Sedalia Fazio, a Mohawk elder who presided over the opening prayer, says the timing of the hearings is difficult given the verdict in the death of Colten Boushie in Saskatchewan.

A jury deliberated 13 hours before finding a white farmer, Gerald Stanley, not guilty last Friday of second-degree murder in Boushie’s slaying.

Fazio says the feeling of injustice in the 2016 death of Boushie, a resident of the Red Pheasant First Nation, brought back memories of her own son’s experience at the hands of law enforcement.

She alleges her son was beaten by Montreal police in a shoplifting incident just after the Oka Crisis in 1990 when he was 13 years old and that nothing was done.

Last week, the province announced the commission, chaired by retired Quebec Superior Court justice Jacques Viens, will see its mandate extended by 10 months.

A final report is now due to the provincial government in September 2019.

The inquiry, announced in December 2016, was mandated to look into the way Indigenous peoples are treated by the police, the province’s youth protection agency, the public health department as well as the justice and correctional systems.

 

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