Quebec First Nations want legislation to help families find missing children

Some First Nations families are scratching their heads at the way the Quebec government is addressing the issue of missing Indigenous children.

Pierre-Paul Niquay said his two brothers went missing at birth in the 1950s. The hospital told his parents they had died.

“We were never able to see the body, nor the coffin. Today we want to know the truth,” he said.

Thérèse Dubé  is taking up this cause for her mother, who is 87 and still doesn’t know what happened to her daughter, Dubé’s sister, Violetta.

“We also lost a sister just after she was born,” she said.

These families say Quebec isn’t aking them seriously enough. The provincial government has tabled an amendment for the minister of justice to help find out what happened to those children who’ve gone missing, but that amendment was made to Bill 31, legislation relating to pharmacists.

Opponents say this doesn’t make any sense at all.

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (APNQL), the Quebec Ombudsman, and opposition parties are calling on the government to address this delicate issue with a separate bill.

APNQL grand chief Ghislain Picard said First Nations need to be properly consulted.

“There’s a solution available. And that is to remove these amendments and deal with this serious and profoundly profane problem in a humane and effective fashion,” said Liberal MNA David Birnbaum.

The government said putting these amendments in this pharmacy bill is the fastest way to act because a separate bill could take years to pass.

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