OTTAWA — Quebec joining the working group that wants to form the federal government to examine the allegations that native women have been sterilized against their will.
A spokesman for the minister of Health of Quebec has confirmed on Thursday that the province had refused in January the invitation to Ottawa to meet with representatives of federal, provincial and territorial about it.
In December, the federal minister of Health, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, and his colleague Services to Aboriginal people, Jane Philpott, had written to the provinces, territories and stakeholders, and health networks in order to create a group on cultural competence in health care.
An assistant deputy minister at Health Canada, Abby Hoffman, recently told a parliamentary committee that several of the provinces had responded to the federal request. A first meeting will take place at the beginning of the next month.
Alexandre Lahaie, press attaché to the minister Danielle McCann, has said that the quebec government was very aware of the subject of forced sterilizations. He reported that discussions were already underway with a number of First Nations, Quebec, and noted that health was a provincial jurisdiction.
The cabinet of Mme Petitpas Taylor has made no comment on the refusal of Quebec to participate in the group. He said, by way of a press release, that forced sterilization was a violation of the rights of the person.
“We act in concert with the provinces, territories, medical associations, and other stakeholders to examine this problem, because it is unacceptable that this could happen,” said the press officer Thierry Bélair.
Senator métis Yvonne Boyer, who stood up against forced sterilization, believes that the quebec government’s decision represents a lost opportunity. She hoped that the province will change your idea about it.
“It is a pity, because if we work together, we can, with a little luck, to find solutions that will allow us to collectively ensure that these practices do not recur,” she said Thursday.
She stressed that women from métis, inuit or aboriginal people not registered were able to also be victims of forced sterilization.
Ms. Boyer wants the Senate committee on human rights examines the issue.