The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador demands a public apology from the Government of Québec concerning the botched investigation by the Sûreté du Québec following the tragic deaths of five young people from the community of Manawan
WENDAKE, QC, Sept. 8, 2017 – It was with deep disappointment and intense pain that the families and relatives of the victims received the decision of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) yesterday in Saint-Michel-des-Saints not to lay charges against the driver of a van involved in an accident that led to the deaths, by drowning, of five young Atikamekw in 1977. A number of years have passed and the DPCP stated that there was insufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to pursue such charges.
The coroner at the time had determined that there was evidence of impaired driving, but it was not until 2016, after a CBC report, that the investigation was reopened. In all likelihood, the investigation carried out at the time was botched. AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard supports Chief Jean-Roch Ottawa of the community of Manawan and Grand Chief Constant Awashish of the Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw and is calling for a public apology from the Government of Québec and the Sûreté du Québec. “It is beyond belief to have to demand such apologies,” he said. “They should have been presented to the families long ago. Members of our nations must be treated by the Sûreté du Québec with respect and dignity like any other citizens of Quebec,” said the AFNQL chief.
Over the last few decades, many unfortunate events have occurred between First Nations in Quebec and officers of the Sûreté du Québec. For the health and safety of our nations, a relationship of trust must be restored with law enforcement and, to that end, an apology is a minimal and unavoidable gesture.
About the AFNQL
The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the political organization of 43 First Nations chiefs in Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql-afnql.com.
For further information: Mélanie Vincent: firstname.lastname@example.org, Cell.: 418-580-4442