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Quebec declines talks with feds, provinces, territories on coerced sterilization

Quebec has declined to participate in a proposed federal, provincial and territorial working group on cultural competency in health expected to focus heavily on allegations of coerced sterilization of Indigenous women.
Quebec has declined to participate in a proposed federal, provincial and territorial working group on cultural competency in health expected to focus heavily on allegations of coerced sterilization of Indigenous women. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Quebec won’t be part of a working group the federal government wants to examine claims that Indigenous women have been sterilized against their will.

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A spokesperson for Quebec’s health minister confirmed Thursday the province declined an invitation in January to meet officials from the federal government and other provinces and territories.

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‘This is a stain on our country’: NDP MP says of forced sterilizations of Indigenous women
‘This is a stain on our country’: NDP MP says of forced sterilizations of Indigenous women

In December, federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and then Indigenous-services minister Jane Philpott contacted the provinces, territories and members of the medical community to form a group on what they called cultural competency in health care.

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Health Canada official Abby Hoffman recently told a parliamentary committee that many provinces have responded to the call and said the first meeting is early next month.

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Federal government says its working to stop forced-sterilization of Indigenous women
Federal government says its working to stop forced-sterilization of Indigenous women

Alexandre Lahaie, a press attaché to Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann, says the provincial government is very sensitive to the issue of coerced sterilization, there are already discussions underway with a number of First Nations in Quebec — and that health is a provincial jurisdiction.

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Petitpas Taylor’s office did not comment directly on Quebec’s decision to opt out but issued a statement saying sterilizing women without their consent is a violation of basic human rights.

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