An enthusiastic native affairs minister, a new deputy minister. François Legault has given a real boost to revive the stormy relationship between his government and the Indigenous Nations of Quebec.
It took him two years in power to finally understand that it is easier to promise a Paix des Braves 2.0 than to get there.
As he acknowledged, we have to rebuild trust, establish mutual respect. A titanic challenge in the face of sometimes divided communities who have too often been promised sea and people to find themselves in the water.
“It’s not easy,” insisted François Legault on Friday. He repeated it no less than eight times in 30 minutes.
True. But that should not become a pretext for stalling its reconciliation effort with indigenous communities once the current crisis has passed.
So what ?
“It’s not simple”, if there is one truth from La Palice in the area of reconciliation, here is one.
All politicians, experts, indigenous leaders recognize this.
Difficult to overcome decades of mistrust.
Painful to be confronted with the harmful consequences of racist colonization.
Complicated to transcend the sometimes insoluble framework of the Indian Act, the poor governance of several communities.
Demanding to fight our own prejudices.
Laborious to invest time, energy, good faith, patience to forge bonds of trust.
However, for too long, this “it’s not easy” has become a defeat, a fallback position to excuse the lack of progress vis-à-vis Aboriginal communities.
Going to the moon was not easy either. And yet the United States got there in eight years. Why ? Because President Kennedy has made it a top priority, because his successors have not given up on it. Because it has become a vast national project.
Finding a vaccine against COVID is not easy either. And yet humanity risks getting there in record time. Why ? Because our economies depend on it. Because it has become THE planetary project.
Will you say I’m exaggerating? The solution to the great problems of our time depends above all on political will, behind the popular will.
François Legault says his government will prove to be the one that will do the most for the Aboriginals.
The ambition is laudable. She would be more credible if he committed to succeed, rather than finding a way out right away.