Québec City, March 19, 2021 – Québec Premier François Legault and Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs Ian Lafrenière today inaugurated the Joint Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) and Québec Government Political Table with Chief of the AFNQL Ghislain Picard and chiefs and grand chiefs from different Aboriginal nations. The initial meeting of the political table, whose creation was announced on November 17, 2020, launches a new era in nation-to-nation relations.
The political table, chaired by the Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs and the Chief of the AFNQL, will examine questions of common interest to all the Aboriginal nations. The First Nations will establish the list of priority topics that it examines. The ministers concerned will participate when questions under their responsibility are on the agenda.
The political table has been implemented to establish nation-to-nation agreements and to advance common issues to enhance the daily lives of First Nations communities. Forthcoming meetings have already been planned, including the meeting that the Premier will attend in the fall, under the theme of economic recovery.
“We are taking a big step forward today. This initial meeting held with the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador and several chiefs and grand chiefs marks a new era in nation-to-nation diplomatic relations. I am indeed pleased to have participated in it. The political table is a concrete gesture to foster dialogue. This forum will also serve as a steppingstone to further our initiatives respecting the recommendations of the Viens Commission and the NIMMIWG.
François Legault, Premier of Québec
“Mutual respect and good faith are the hallmarks of this first in a lengthy series of meetings. I am determined to achieve progress and we will succeed in doing so by working together. We engaged in fruitful discussions today and believe that for the political table to be effective and fulfill its mandate, it must have ambitious objectives. It is my hope that we will implement concrete initiatives and solutions.”
Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs
“We have taken an important first step of a mutual commitment by establishing the First Nations-Québec political table. It is the first stage in creating a forum to launch sustained dialogue on the key principles that must guide our deliberations and to find answers to the numerous questions that demand clear political commitment.”
Ghislain Picard, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador