With little more than two weeks to go before Quebecers head to the election polls on Oct. 3, representatives from four of Quebec’s main political parties will be squaring off in an Indigenous-specific debate Tuesday night.
The debate, organized by the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL), will be livestreamed on APTN’s social media platform Nouvelles Nationales starting at 7 p.m. ET.
According to the AFNQL, the bilingual debate will zero in on four key themes: governance and self-determination, territory, resources, and economy, health and education, and protection of language and culture.
In a statement, AFNQL Regional Chief Ghislain Picard said Quebec is “lagging behind in Indigenous matters and must do better.”
“[First Nations and Inuit] cannot afford another four years in the same spot, and even taking steps back on various issues that affect us,” Picard said via press release.
A recent Léger poll shows incumbent premier Francois Legault’s Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) surging ahead of the Liberal Party, Quebec Solidaire, and the Conservative Party of Quebec with at least 38 per cent of the popular vote.
Legault, however, recently issued an apology to Indigenous people in Quebec after claiming Quebec’s issues with racism in health care have been “settled” since Joyce Echaquan’s death in September 2020.
The incumbent premier later clarified during a campaign stop that he was trying to say that significant improvement has been made since Echaquan’s death, and that he knows Indigenous people in Quebec still face racism.
Batting for the CAQ during Tuesday’s livestreamed debate is Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafreniere.
Representing the Liberal Party is Gregory Kelley, MNA for Jacques-Cartier and Official Opposition Critic for Indigenous Affairs.
Quebec Solidaire is run jointly by Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and Manon Massé – but as an Official Opposition Critic for Indigenous Affairs at the National Assembly, Massé will be the one to outline the party’s Indigenous platforms Tuesday night.
And finally, speaking on behalf of the Parti Quebecois is Alexis Gagné-Lebrun – a candidate in the Saint-Hyacinthe riding.
Watch here: Nouvelles Nationales
With files from the Canadian Press.