APTN National News
The Sûreté du Québec held a presentation Tuesday at the Quebec inquiry on the relationship between Indigenous people and public services focusing a lot on past confrontations.
“We can see with each event where the confidence in the SQ is rattled, the SQ has taken steps to act,” said Capt. Patrick Marchand, of the Sûreté du Québec Aboriginal Affairs unit.
Marchand said the provincial police have stepped up to improve its service to Quebec’s Indigenous community.
One example was the Aboriginal Affairs unit didn’t exist until last year and a focus on sensitivity training for officers.
“In 1983, were giving them (sensitivity sessions) once a year,” said Marchand. “We’re currently nine sessions a year … to more than 30 people per session.”
He said the force is trying to add additional liaison officers.
“Since 2013-2014, we noticed that the number of indigenous liaison agents is insufficient and in 2015, a decision was made and in 2016 it was put into place,” he said.
There are 10 liaison officers now assigned to work with Indigenous communities.
Although, when questioned, Marchand revealed that only one liaison officer is Indigenous.
“I think that it’s a preferable attribute (to have in a liaison officer). We would like to have a greater representativeness of members of the Indigenous nations inside the Sureté du Québec. For reasons beyond my control there are now only 40 (across the force),” he said.
After stressing that the force has learned from incidents, such as the Oka and Restigouch Salmon crisis, he was asked by a lawyer how the force classified the Val d’Or accusations among those infamous confrontations.
But before he could answer, the inquiry was shut it down.
“I propose that we keep that question until we have witnesses, witnesses on the after effects that rose out of what we call the events of Val d’Or,” Paul Crépeau, an official with the inquiry.
The Sureté du Québec refused to take questions on the matter by media.