The 2020–2021 Provincial Budget: A first step that must quickly be followed by concrete solutions for Indigenous wellness
WENDAKE, Quebec, March 11, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec (RCAAQ) takes note of the Government of Québec’s efforts “to foster well-being in Indigenous communities” in its measures announced yesterday for the 2020-2021 budget. However, the RCAAQ highlights that this response is only a partial one to the many needs First Nations members and Inuit have expressed.
The RCAAQ salutes this first step by the Legault administration that provides $200 million over five years to implement initiatives that will support Indigenous women and girls and improve access to services that are culturally adapted and thus meet the needs of Indigenous people.The RCAAQ believes that these investments will lead to a better future for the well-being of Indigenous people, provided fund is recurrent, and that the Government of Québec will consider the observations presented in the report of the Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous peoples and certain public services regarding piecemeal and discontinuous government actions. This frequently criticized situation impedes innovation and optimization in front-line service delivery in the Native Friendship Centres in Quebec.“This budget is only a first step,” stated Tanya Sirois, the executive director of the RCAAQ. “We have a huge task ahead. We answered the request by Hon. Sylvie D’Amours last fall and have already submitted innovative and concrete solutions. It is our hope to start taking action in the coming weeks.” The RCAAQ would also like to remind the Government of Québec that over 50% of First Nations members reside in Quebec cities. This is without counting the many Indigenous people who live temporarily in urban areas.“The Government of Québec has a responsibility toward its population, an obligation that cannot be dismissed,” said the chair of the RCAAQ, Philippe Meilleur. In recent years, Native Friendship Centres have developed many direct services in health, justice, education, employability and other areas for Indigenous children, women, men, Elders and families, in addition to facilitating these groups’ access to services in the public network.- Philippe Meilleur, President of RCAAQThe RCAAQ represents 11 Native Friendship Centres in the following Quebec cities: Chibougamau, Joliette, La Tuque, Maniwaki, Montréal, Québec City, Roberval, Senneterre, Sept-Îles, Trois-Rivières and Val-d’Or. For 50 years, the Quebec Native Friendship Centre Movement has advocated for the rights and interests of Indigenous citizens in Quebec cities through their continuum of frontline services. The mission of the Friendship Centres is to improve the quality of life of urban Indigenous people, promote culture and build bridges between peoples.