The mission of RJC-Qc is to sensitize various communities in the province of Quebec to restorative justice and its benefits, as well as to promote the rights of victims and, in particular, the rights of First Nations people. In this regard, we have created various educational initiatives. Concurrently, our mission is to provide participatory programs that meet the needs of the victims and offenders in the spirit of reconciliation. We focus substantial attention on specifically tailored programs addressing the tainted legacy of Residential Schools for Aboriginals. These programs are designed to heal persistent wounds so that there can be a reconnection with fundamental personal identity and reweaving of severed family and community connections, both within Aboriginal communities and with society at large.
In connection with our mission regarding the legacy of Residential Schools, we have partnered with Returning to Spirit – Residential School Reconciliation Inc. in order to implement this initiative within the province of Quebec. A summary of this program follows under the heading Returning to Spirit.
Regarding all our programs, we organize meetings on a voluntary basis framed by a code of ethics based on respect and openness. The meeting place is a space that appeals to the heart and spirit. These meetings take place on the basis of introspection, stories, self-testimonies and the free expression of imprisoning destructive emotions. The goal is a liberation from suffering that leads to an understanding that the person who committed an offense is greater than the offense and the person who suffered the injury is greater than the injury. Indeed, the quest for meaning generates a mutual understanding that unfolds during meetings and raises insights: it is a process of transformation. In addition, if self-condemnation poisons the soul, it becomes possible to recognize the cathartic power of the Creator or God as Spiritual Light and Love.
Knowledgeable meeting facilitators have concluded that “the more serious the crime is, the greater the need for restorative justice” [Thérèse De Villette, Faire justice autrement, 2009]. In fact, De Villette says that the word that best sums up this type of meeting for most participants is “rebirth”. This means that this type of meeting allows victims to emerge from their isolation, to face their fears and revisit their former lives in order to shift their conversation. As for offenders who admit their responsibility, it becomes an opportunity to understand the impact of a criminal act on victims and therefore awaken empathy and potential for rehabilitation.