Radio-Canada Enquête: Val d'Or Aboriginal women speak out against abuse by SQ police in Val d'Or

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Radio-Canada Enquête: Val d'Or Aboriginal women speak out against abuse by SQ police in Val d'Or

Algonquin and Cree women from Val d'Or (Northwestern Qc) and communities in the region are claiming systematic sexual, physical and other abuse by Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officers there. The eight officers questioned in these cases remain on the job.

Enquête is a hard-hitting investigative reporting show on Radio-Canada, and has shed light on the systemic corruption involving the construction industry, organized crime ... and politicians.

The episode is airing tonight at 9pm, Saturday at 1pm, and Sunday on RDI at 6pm and 2am (not clear, I presume that is very early Monday, in the night, if not 2am would come first, I suppose?) You can also view it on the net here: but I don't know when tonight's episode will be online.


NDPP started a subsequent thread on the topic I created yesterday. Here is his post:

At least it is being discussed in the National Assembly - Indigenous groups here (First Nations and Inuit) have been discussing and calling for action on this systemic abuse which is a toxic stew of patriarchy, racism/colonialism and abuse of police power.

But it must not wind up on a shelf. Enquête has exposed other cases of coverups of official wrongdoing and abuse by powerful forces in society, including the systemic corruption that lead to the Charbonneau Commission. But little if any action has been taken on that, and earlier cases.

More on this story in Le Devoir:

So far, APTN is only running a Canadian Press story, but I'll be looking at any follow-up there:

I first heard this SPECIFIC story of abuse (though it goes back a long time) at Gravel le matin, the Radio-Canada morning show in the Montréal region, and this interview by Gravel (who was of course at the helm of Enquête before taking over the mornnig radio slot) with current Enquête journalist Josée Dupuis: There is also an exceprt from the Enquête episode aired last night. I didn't succeed in watching it on my computer (I don't have a TV) but will certainly be able to soon.

Here is a regional report from Radio-Canada Abitibi-Témiscamingue (Northwetern Québec):

On local reactions to this situation. Now, lagatta is going back to bed. My darned old codger of a tomcat woke me up, now he's sleeping soundly. Human should do the same for a bit.


Quebec police officers suspended pending sex abuse investigation


The Quebec provincial police officers under investigation for sex abuse against aboriginal women in the community of Val-d'Or have either been suspended or put on leave. 

The eight officers had remained on duty since the allegations were brought forward last May.

At a news conference this morning, Public Safety Minister Lise Thériault also announced the transfer of the investigation from Quebec provincial police to the Montreal police and suggested the government may launch an inquiry into the matter.

Thank whatever gods there be for Radio-Canada, which does by far the best investigative reporting in the country.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Quebec politicians, activists stunned by aboriginal women's sex assault allegations


An upcoming provincial legislative committee will deal with violence against aboriginal women in Quebec. Now activists and community leaders say it needs to have a wider scope.

"If we do a parliamentary commission, we have to look across Quebec now," said Michèle Audette, former president of the Native Women's Association of Canada. "If it [is happening] in Val-d'Or, I'm sure it's happening in Sept-Îles, Montreal, Quebec or other cities where there's aboriginal communities close to those cities."


Québec solidaire communiqué:

If Enquête hadn't broken the story, probably nobody would even be talking about it, though First Nations women have been speaking of this in the region for a long time...


Yeah, the minister (Lise Thériault) was in tears today during her media conference. She knew about all this since May. I guess she was weeping because the public found out.


alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Unionist wrote:

Yeah, the minister (Lise Thériault) was in tears today during her media conference. She knew about all this since May. I guess she was weeping because the public found out.


For sure. And the officers in question are on paid vacation (as per usual).the SQ pleading that 'everyone is innocent until proven guilty' which is true...IF you're a cop.


More women have come forward about abuse:

I have to say that even though these are things we've been hearing over and over (throughout the Americas and beyond) this horrible story is giving me nightmares (and waking me up at 3 a.m.)


[url= march in Val d'Or[/url] [in English]

And there's a video report here (in French).


Oh wait ... presumption of innocence ... how foolish of me! The porcine union speaks out:

[url= union defends Val-d'Or officers, warns stories of abuse are only allegations[/url]

"The allegations in the Enquête report that aired last Thursday are worrisome, and we feel it is necessary to set the record straight. Let's be clear. at this point, they are only allegations, and the presumption of innocence is a fundamental principle in our justice system. We should not lose sight of that," Veilleux said in a statement.

Any ordinary civilian accused of such behaviour would be arrested and entitled to a bail hearing. Any employee accused of such behaviour would be suspended without pay pending the outcome of either a disciplinary or a criminal proceeding.

Only cops are entitled to be treated like spoiled brats. They have not even been suspended with pay. They have been assigned to "administrative duty".

People are speaking out against these vicious racist thugs. Let us hope that justice is done.


The police are thumbing their nose and taking the offensive. It turns out that out of "solidarity", all Val d'Or SQ officers booked sick over the weekend. And they've launched a petition demanding an apology from the Minister (the one who was weeping), saying she should be defending them, not giving credence to what are only "allegations and not accusations". Also, their union has publicly opposed the call for an independent (i.e. non-cop) inquiry.

Indeed, the time has come for accusations, not allegations.

[url= d'Or SQ cops show anger and solidarity[/url]

The story is developing, so I'll post something in English if and when.



I didn't think it was possible to be any less sympathetic toward cops, but this latest outrage has me plumbing new depths.


[url= confident in ministers' handling of Val d'Or policing crisis[/url]


Premier Philippe Couillard says he has full confidence in the cabinet ministers handling the policing crisis in Val d’Or.

And he said he sees nothing wrong with Public Security Minister Lise Thériault shedding a few tears in the heat of the moment, especially given the “tragic,” nature of events. [...]

Native Affairs Minister Geoffrey Kelley has been sent in to the community as well, to try and ease tensions and re-build some bridges.

Kelley has not ruled out a separate public inquiry into the incidents but has said he wants to see decisions the new Liberal government in Ottawa takes to avoid two parallel inquiries. Prime Minister elect Justin Trudeau campaigned saying he would launch an inquiry into the disappearance and treatment of first nation women all across Canada. [...]

In Quebec City, PQ House Leader Bernard Drainville said Thériault’s behaviour has been erratic. The PQ already asked once for her resignation — following the escape of three prisoners by helicopter last year from a Quebec prison.

“The way she has managed this whole file goes to show that she doesn’t have the competence, she doesn’t have the judgment, she’s had a very erratic way of dealing with what happened in Orsainville and she’s had again the same very erratic way of dealing with what happened in Val d’Or,” Drainville said Tuesday. “For all these reasons, she should go.”

Opposition parties last year accused Thériault of having “lost control” of her ministry, after three inmates escaped the Orsainville detention centre in a helicopter.

Drainville said his party is in favour of a pan-Canadian inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women. But the PQ also wants an independent inquiry into the Val D’Or allegations of police sexual misconduct and a parliamentary commission into the living conditions of aboriginal women.

Manon Massé from Québec solidaire argued displacing Thériault won’t change the systemic racism First Nations still face today. “Racism is present in Quebec. Prejudices are nurtured, and the challenges are significant,” she said.


Francine Pelletier sees the Val d'Or sexual (and other) abuse revelations  - and Enquête's role in bringing them front and centre - as an event that spotlights the dire situation of Indigenous women   as the little boy drowned on a beach did for that of Syrian refugees.

The revelations have brought painful memories to the fore among residents and staff of the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal; they are responding to these with healing circles.

The Native Women's Shelter of Montreal says women staying at the shelter are coping with painful memories this week as they follow developments about allegations of abuse by some provincial police officers in Val-d'Or.  

"It's touched them somehow — it's either a friend or it's happened to them," said Nakuset, executive director of Native Women's Shelter of Montreal. 

About 20 women are staying at the shelter. Most of them are from Northern Quebec or western Canada.

"Some people are re-living what they had gone through and other people are thinking of other family members and it's almost like an explosion that's happened here," Nakuset said.

Nakuset has asked an elder in Montreal's aboriginal community, Morning Star Orr, to lead two healing circles at the shelter this week.

Edited to add: In Le Soleil (Quebec City) three Innue women (from the North Shore, where our friend Boom Boom lived) talk about the painful memories of similar abuse they endured in their youth decades ago, from police and a teacher (as well as family violence):


[url=]... plan rally on Parliament Hill for Val-d'Or women at centre of police abuse allegations - Rally will take place on Parliament Hill Nov. 3 at noon[/url]


There will be a vigil at Place des Arts in Montréal tomorrow. Find below more information (the facebook page is bilingual Fr/En, and open to all) on the Mtl vigil and the rally in Ottawa on Nov 3rd. I'll try to find out about any buses to Ottawa from here, perhaps people in other cities that are a reasonable distance could do the same?

A message I received just now from a friend: 

Vigil Thurs. Oct. 29th in support of aboriginal women Vigile en solidarité avec les femmes autochtones, jeudi 29 octobre, 18 h

Greetings All/Salut tous---Here is info about a vigil in support of aboriginal women on Thursday Oct. 29th at 6 PM in front of Place des Arts.

Voici les details en bas pour une vigile de solidarité avec les femmes autochtones, jeudi le 29 octobre a 18 heures devant la Place des Arts.

 À la suite des révélations de l’émission « ENQUÊTE », qui a mis au jour l’ampleur de la détresse et de la discrimination vécues par les femmes autochtones de Val d’Or et révélé des allégations d'agissements criminels de plusieurs agents de la Sureté du Québec, nous vous invitons à participer à une vigile en solidarité avec les femmes autochtones qui aura lieu le jeudi 29 octobre, à 18 h, devant la Place des Arts. 

Pour plus d’informations, vous pouvez consulter l’événement Facebook qui annonce l’action organisée par Idle No More – Québec.

Nous vous invitons aussi à prendre connaissance du communiqué de presse de la CSN sur le sujet :



Suzanne Audette

2e vice-présidente

Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain-CSN

514 598-2002





Sadly, I missed the vigil yesterday evening. I'm down with a cold (or mild flu? I've been running a slight fever...) that I fear is turning into bronchitis. Good photo with this short La Presse story, so look at it even if you don't read French.

Several hundred, according to Le Devoir. And a particular odious comment from radio shock jock André Arthur, saying the women's reports were a "fabrication" because $200 for a BJ wasn't the going rate at Val d'Or...

So far, nothing in either the Gazette or CBC News...


Another "victim" of Val d'Or:

[url= Thériault takes temporary leave for health reasons, is replaced by Pierre Moreau[/url]

I guess tears were not enough.


Here's an English-language report on Thursday evening's vigil, along with several videos:

[url= attend Montreal vigil in support of aboriginal women[/url]

The Quebec branch of Idle No More is among the groups that organized the event. Representatives from Amnesty International and the Quebec Native Women’s Centre as well as organizations that help all women who are victims of violence also came to show support.


Enquête has another Indigenous story tonight (9p.m. EST, but this can be viewed online). This one is about an Innu community on the Lower North Shore (Boom Boom country). Eight children were taken from the very small Innu community of Pakuashipi in the far east of Québec, to the hospital in Blanc-Sablon, 200km away. Their families never saw the children again, living or dead, and never received a death certificate. There was at least one story of a child adopted out.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Québécois and Indigenous peoples: A necessary dialogue

We are used to hearing our politicians speak of Quebec as a “model” to follow when it comes to relations with Indigenous peoples. In English Canada (no surprises here), we often hear quite the opposite : that the people of Quebec are insensitive to Indigenous issues. But what if the reality is much more complex?

We have repeatedly heard in the last few years that Quebec is an example to follow, when it comes to relations with Indigenous peoples. Listening to disparate political figures, from Bernard Landry to Thomas Mulcair, one gets the sense that “la Belle Province” is a real paradise for the eleven First Nations who live in the province.

I think these ideas reflect a widespread sentiment: since “Aboriginal Affairs” are under federal jurisdiction and since the law which governs them (1876’s infamous “Indian Act”) was written by Ottawa, we often believe that the federal government is responsible for the fate of Indigenous peoples’.

We often hear, “it’s the federal government’s fault!”

Hence, this habit of being unabashedly proud of agreements such as The Peace of the Braves, or the James Bay Agreement, in order to send the ball back into Ottawa’s court.

Even though we shouldn’t deny that these treaties are important advances (celebrated by numerous Indigenous leaders), we should not conclude, as Bernard Landry did recently, that “Quebec is exemplary in Canada.” The scandal of the last few days stands as irrefutable proof that this is not true, especially as we now know there have been similar cases reported with other police forces and in other regions.

If this news has shaken people up so much, it is precisely because it reminds Quebecers of French descent that they cannot just blame the Canadian state....


Yes, GNDs post is certainly something to reflect on.


More victims are coming forward:

[url= aboriginal women allege abuse at hands of Quebec provincial police[/url]


The women — who hail from places such as Schefferville and Maniwaki — say they wanted to share their own experiences after Radio-Canada's investigative program Enquête aired a story in November about aboriginal women in Val-d'Or alleging they were sexually assaulted by Sûreté du Québec officers over a period of two decades.


Thanks; I heard this update on the story on "Gravel le matin" (Radio-Canada morning show) this morning. Enquête is doing another episode; believe it is tonight (though the episodes can be watched online afterwards).

The other horrifying aspect of this story is that Indigenous women in Québec were also victims of the notorious "Starlight Tours", better known as a form of abuse used against First Nations men on the Prairies, some of whom died of exposure on those lethally cold winter nights. SQ named them "cures géographiques".


Unbelievable shit.

This was yesterday:

[url= cases of alleged police abuse in Val-d'Or handed over to Crown[/url]


Quebec's director of criminal prosecutions (DPCP) will announce Friday whether the Crown will pursue charges related to dozens of complaints of alleged abuse involving Indigenous women at the hands of Quebec provincial police officers in Val-d'Or. 

Montreal police, which handled the investigation, turned over 37 files to prosecutors for review, the department said in a statement Monday.

    The DPCP said it will inform complainants of its decision prior to holding a news conference Friday in Val-d'Or but declined to comment further.

    Today some Francophone media are reporting that no charges will be laid, and the six cops who have been suspended (with pay) for the past year will return to "work".

    Although no one expected any better result, this is still sickening. I can't begin to imagine what the victims are going through today.


    Yes you beat me to that. I heard it on Radio-Canada and wanted to start throwing things. It is utterly outrageous and disgusting.


    Thanks Unionist. I'd also advise any of you who would like to improve your French while looking at issues of Indigenous and women's rights could first view the translation, then the original.

    The lawsuit by the cops is serious, and as Nora Loreto says, if this kind of measures are used against even mainstream media (though Enquête is a particularly fearless team) it will also be much easier to take the same kind of silencing tactics against activists and less mainstream media.


    So charges were laid against two retired cops for events in Shefferville, but all the 35 files from Val d'Or will not result in any criminal prosecutions. The "reasons" in different cases (without details or identities being revealed) vary from: not enough evidence to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt; little or no evidence that the actions complained of were criminal in nature; inability to establish the identity of the alleged abuser.

    Indigenous leaders and activists expected all this (because of the leaks earlier this week), but they are warning of troubled times ahead.

    The cops are pushing ahead with lawsuit against Radio Canada for its original investigative report.

    And by the way, if you want to watch that brilliant exposé, you can do so in English:

    [url=ête investigation into Val d'Or now available in English[/url]



    Another caricature by Garnotte, of Le Devoir - SQ cop: "It isn't racism, it's protection from the mosquitos"...


    There was a candlelight vigil-protest yesterday evening at Place-des-Arts in Montréal - According to Radio-Canada, there were hundreds of people present:

    I wasn't in the loop! Alas, didn't hear about it. I assume the Idle No More people assume I use social media more than old fartesses like me usually do...



    [url= Val-d'Or residents face racial profiling, systemic discrimination, study suggests[/url]


    A report released today suggests that police in Val-d'Or are racially profiling Indigenous people.

      Researchers Céline Bellot from l'Université de Montréal and Marie-Eve Sylvestre from the University of Ottawa conducted the study.

      They looked at how law enforcement and homelessness intersect in the city 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

      Here's what they found:

      • Sûreté du Québec officers handed out 3,087 tickets between Jan. 1 2012 and March 1, 2015.
      • 2,353, or 76 per cent of them, were issued to Indigenous people.
      • 67 people received more than 10 tickets in that period.
      • 63 of those people were Indigenous, as was everyone who received more than 15 tickets.

      The majority of the tickets, which were municipal bylaw infractions, were given out for offences such as public intoxication, drinking and doing drugs in public and uttering threats.

      According to the 2011 census, Indigenous people make up less than 10 per cent of the population of the community.

      Could just be a coincidence...