A Successful Event
The Grand Economic Circle of Indigenous People and Quebec took place in Montreal on November 25 and 26, 2021. The event, which was presented by the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador and the Government of Quebec and organized by the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Economic Development Commission and the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones, was very successful. Here is a summary of the highlights of the event.
Note that the objective of the event was to bring together elected officials and representatives of the business communities of Indigenous people and Quebec around the same theme, namely the full participation of Indigenous people in Quebec’s economy. With that in mind, the event brought together an audience of 250 people, including representatives of Indigenous communities, organizations and entrepreneurs. On the non-Indigenous side, many businesses and organizations responded to the invitation, including TELUS, Hydro-Québec, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, Rio Tinto and the Conseil du patronat du Québec.
A first day overflowing with content
The first day of the event kicked off with an interview featuring Mr. Peter Simons, CEO of La Maison Simons, who was interviewed by Chief Ghislain Picard. Mr. Simons was back in the afternoon for a panel discussion, during which he discussed with entrepreneurs Josée Shushei Leblanc, from Atikuss, and Lara Siouï, from Onquata, on how to provide a showcase for Indigenous entrepreneurs and their products in an authentic way. The afternoon started off with a bang, with a panel discussion that was presented by our Commitment partner TELUS, which aimed to present different models of collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. At the end of the day, National Chief RoseAnne Archibald and Grand Chiefs Kahsennehawe Sky-Deer and Mandy Gull-Masty spoke about their vision for economic reconciliation as elected women.
The first day ended with the presentation of the Indigenous Tourism Quebec Recognition Gala.
A second day focused on commitment
The event continued on November 26th with two panel discussions and a conference, featuring speakers such as Sophie Brochu, CEO of Hydro-Québec, Maggie Emudluk, from the Makivik Corporation, Dave Laveau, from Indigenous Tourism Quebec, and Manon Jeannotte and Ken Rock, from the First Nations Executive Education (HEC Montréal). In the second half of the morning, the conferences and panels gave way to political content. Launched by a speech from Premier François Legault, this part of the program made it possible to hear various ministers, including the Minister for the Economy, Lucie Lecours, the Minister of Finance, Éric Girard, and the Chair of the Conseil du Trésor, Sonia LeBel. At the end of the afternoon, co-chaired by Chief Ghislain Picard and Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs, companies took part in the Grand Circle of Commitment, during which they had the opportunity to present commitments that were focused on ensuring a greater participation of Indigenous people in the economy. Indeed, these companies, along with several others, all endorsed the event’s Declaration of Commitment. It is still possible to endorse the Declaration of Commitment by visiting the event website at https://grandcercle.ca/en/get-involved/declaration-dengagement/.
For those who were unable to attend the event in person or online, videos of the speakers and panels will be available in the coming days on the Grand Economic Circle YouTube channel.
The movement that was launched in Montreal will continue in 2022, in particular with the presentation of the first regional Grand Economic Circle in the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh. In the meantime, follow-up on all the commitments that have been made will be ensured by the Grand Economic Circle team in the coming months.
To stay tuned for all that is to come in terms of the Grand Economic Circle and keep up to date on all news about upcoming regional events, please follow the event’s Facebook page.