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Carmant inflexible on the powers of the future commissioner for children's rights

Photo: Christinne Muschi La Presse canadienne Le ministre Lionel Carmant constate une perte de confiance envers la CDPDJ, ce qui ne veut pas dire qu’il faut bousculer les façons de faire. Selon lui, le futur commissaire risque déjà d’en avoir beaucoup dans son assiette.

Even though he had considered it last year, the Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, showed himself inflexible on Thursday regarding the idea of ​​entrusting the powers of the Commission on Human Rights and Human Rights of Youth (CDPDJ) to the future commissioner for the well-being and rights of children.

In a press scrum at the Parliament Building, the CAQ elected official indicated that he had not changed his mind regarding the sharing of powers in matters of youth protection. Currently, the CDPDJ has the authority to investigate cases of potential misconduct by the Director of Youth Protection (DPJ). The law also gives him the right to intervene in court.

However, last week, several groups encouraged the minister to take advantage of the study of Bill 37 on the commissioner for the well-being and rights of children to transfer all the powers of the CDPDJ to this new institution. youth protection. “For several years, the [CDPDJ], despite its powers, has not fully played its role as watchdog for the most vulnerable children in our society,” launched the journalist, author and godmother of the Youth Foundation of the DPJ, Nancy Audet, in parliamentary committee.

The transfer of powers from the CDPDJ to the commissioner was one of the many recommendations of the Laurent report on children's rights and youth protection. However, Minister Carmant refused to comply with it when he tabled Bill 37 last year.

Mr. Carmant agrees to have “heard the problem with the CDPDJ”, but he still does not intend to follow the recommendation of the Laurent commission.

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The elected representative of François Legault's government notes a loss of confidence in the Commission, which does not mean, according to him, that we must shake up the ways of doing things. According to him, the future commissioner risks already having a lot on his plate when he is appointed, after the adoption of bill 37.

“It’s important that the commissioner is the commissioner of all children. The solution for youth protection is more prevention, less intervention. Then we need this commissioner to do that,” he said.

Proposed last year

In a memorandum to the Council of Ministers submitted in October 2023, Minister Carmant mentioned an “alternative” where the commissioner would indeed have inherited the powers of the CDPDJ. “This is the model recommended by the Laurent commission,” he wrote, while warning his colleagues of several potential “disadvantages.”

“The structure of this model would be weighed down due to the addition of powers which involve in particular carrying out investigations into potential cases of infringement of rights and referring the matter to the courts”, had- he moved forward.

At the other end of the line, Thursday, the Liberal spokesperson for youth protection, Brigitte Garceau, deplored the lack of collaboration from Minister Carmant. “To me, it’s really not justified,” she said. We cannot continue with the status quo. The situation has not improved for five years. »

In a written statement, the Parti Québécois did not say it was convinced that the transfer of powers in youth protection was the solution. “We are confident that the upcoming parliamentary work will allow us to find the best route,” said MP Joël Arseneau. Québec solidaire indicated “that corrective measures will have to be analyzed to restore community confidence in the CDPDJ.”

No independent commissioner

In addition to being criticized for the role of the CDPDJ last week, Bill 37 came under several attacks regarding the role of the commissioner vis-à-vis Indigenous communities.

In parliamentary committee, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador strongly contested the decision to appoint an “associate” indigenous commissioner rather than create a fully “autonomous” position. “It’s extremely trying,” said his boss, Ghislain Picard.

On Thursday, the liberal opposition demanded that the Legault government comply with criticism from the community. In a motion presented at Salon Bleu, she called for the creation of “welfare and children commissioners by and for Inuit and First Nations.” The Coalition Avenir Québec did not want to debate it. “I am stunned,” said MP Brigitte Garceau after the event.

Questioned about what explained this decision, Minister Carmant's office did not respond to Devoir, Thursday.< /p>

The detailed study of Bill 37 should begin next week. The Liberal Party already plans to table several amendments to transfer the powers of the CDPDJ and create independent indigenous commissioners.

With Jessica Nadeau

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116