CAQ leader François Legault says he could propose a bill to protect indigenous languages.

Caquiste leader François Legault says he could propose a bill to protect indigenous languages.

Mr. Legault opened this door after visiting a former Indian residential school on Friday to commemorate the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

In a press briefing, Mr. Legault rejected the criticism of indigenous representatives who opposed the adoption of the bill reforming the Charter of the French language.

« In my opinion, nothing in Bill 96 affects Indigenous languages, » he said. Another bill should work to protect aboriginal languages. »

Mr. Legault said he is ready to support the teaching of indigenous languages.

« They are in a much more critical situation than the French, » he said. Yet French will always be vulnerable in North America. We need to help the aboriginal communities so that the children and grandchildren keep the aboriginal languages. »


Earlier, the CAQ leader participated in a commemoration at the former Amos boarding school in Saint-Marc-de-Figuery. He was welcomed by Johnny Wylde and Édouard Kistabish, two boarders who attended this institution run by religious congregations.

« It’s important to take a moment in memory of the children of residential schools, » said the chief caquiste, who acted Friday as premier.

The Amos boarding school welcomed up to 200 children a year, from 1955 to 1974. It has since been demolished.

Mr. Legault participated in a commemoration ceremony in front of a monument that stands today on the site where the building stood.

“Residential schools were a human tragedy,” he said. Parents were taken from their children for no reason. »

Mr. Legault affirmed that it is important to recognize the drama experienced by the residents, “even if it is painful, even if it is embarrassing what happened in Quebec, in Canada”.

nation to nation

The CAQ chief expressed the wish to develop nation-to-nation relations with the Aboriginal communities.

“We have to understand that it will take time. We have to put ourselves in the place of the indigenous communities. It will take time to rebuild trust. »

After the ceremony, Mr. Kistabich said that indigenous issues are little discussed during the election campaign. He would like the next government to be more active in the recognition of First Nations rights.

« I think it’s going slow, really slow, » he said. It’s going to take time for us to really trust each other. We have experienced too much rejection. Even if we have gains at the constitutional level, from the Supreme Court, it is not always recognized. »

In particular, he deplored the fact that members of Aboriginal communities pay more taxes in Quebec than in Ontario.

« The principle is there, you’re not supposed to pay taxes, » he said. It’s as if we give you a little and we take it away with the other hand. »

Mr. Kistabish said that many of the residents were kept away from home for ten months each year. They only saw their families in the summer.


The 73-year-old man, who lives in Pikogan, an Algonquin First Nation reserve, would like an excavation to be carried out on the premises of the residential school. He explained that a decision will be made when all affected indigenous communities have agreed on how to proceed.

Children from other communities in Lac Simon, Wemotaci, Obedjiwan and Manawan, also attended the institution.

« There is a lady somewhere, I won’t say where, who confirmed that there was something here, something wrong with the bodies, » he said.

Several communities have been in reflection since the discovery, in May 2021, of 215 unmarked graves on the grounds of a former boarding school in Kamloops, British Columbia. Other burials were subsequently discovered elsewhere in Canada, but no excavations have yet been carried out in Quebec.

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