October 1, 2019 – Kuujjuaq, QC – Makivik President Charlie Watt says the final report of the Viens Commission shows that Jacques Viens listened to what Inuit told the commission when it visited Kuujjuaq, and Kuujjuaraapik about a year ago. It also heard the messages Inuit gave at the commission hearings held in Montreal. The main finding of the commission is that there is “systemic discrimination experienced by the First Nations and Inuit peoples in their relations with the public services investigated.”
“Inuit provided testimony to the commission in all areas” said Charlie Watt. “Many times, in tears, my fellow Inuit testified to the commission about their experiences with the health, justice, social services, youth protection, historical injustices, and other interactions with Quebec government services. Based on the first call to action – that Quebec apologize to Inuit and First Nations for the rampant discrimination found in public services provided to our people, we feel we have been heard.”
In November, 2018 Charlie Watt testified at the commission when it spent two days in Kuujjuaq. At the time Watt noted how important the commission’s mandate was, touching on vital areas in the lives of Inuit in the Nunavik region, notably: justice, corrections, police, health and social services, and youth protection. Watt provided testimony on each aspect and stated, “Our problems will not be solved by the South. Solutions will be found by our people.”
As part of his testimony, Watt noted that the Nunavik region is working on a process of Self-Determination, and in this sense, working to govern our own affairs in all jurisdictional fields.
“It’s a lengthy report, close to 500 pages, containing 142 Call to Action,” said President Watt. “We plan to follow up formally with the government of Quebec in writing, with a thorough response to the Commission’s final report.”
The Final Report titled, Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec: listening, reconciliation and progress, is available online, as is a summary report, transcripts, and annexes. The commission website is cerp.gouv.qc.ca
The “Viens Commission” was named after the honourable Jacques Viens, who was responsible for the judicial district of Abitibi, including Nunavik, for more than 30 years for the Superior Court of Québec. The Viens Commission was created by the Government of Québec on December 21, 2016. The full name is The Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec: listening, reconciliation and progress.
Makivik is the land claims organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.
The full report can be found on the commission's website > https://www.cerp.gouv.qc.ca/
For quick reference here are links to the following documents.