Manitoba wants more funding to boost policing for First Nations

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's attorney general says he will be pushing for more federal money to help bolster front-line First Nations policing on remote reserves.

See Full Article

Gord Mackintosh says the previous Conservative government's decision to freeze the aboriginal policing budget for almost a decade before cancelling a band constable program was "horribly perverse."

"Federal government statistics show that northern Manitoba has about five times the crime rate as the south and indigenous Manitobans are nine times more likely to be victimized," Mackintosh told The Canadian Press in a recent interview.

"That is not acceptable. First Nations deserve better."

Some 31 aboriginal communities across Manitoba relied on band constables before the program was terminated earlier this year.

Band constables were trained to federal policing standards but lived in the community. The indigenous offices could enforce band bylaws and were often first on the scene in an emergency before RCMP arrived.

The province has stepped in with its own version of the program, but First Nations say the new safety officers have fewer powers, don't have the same relationship with the RCMP and are poorly funded. At least one community said its officers have been reduced to driving detained people around in a pickup truck owned by the band.

Mackintosh said the reincarnation of the band constable will eventually be an improvement because the officers will be on solid legal footing. First Nations police will have a "close working relationship" with the RCMP and be able to enforce provincial statutes, he said.

Manitoba will be asking for much more support from the new Liberal government, he added.

"We are hoping for night and day when it comes to federal government approaches to First Nation policing. We are making it very clear to them that we expect to see a growth and new investment in First Nation policing."

Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was unavailable for an interview. Department spokeswoman Mylene Croteau said in an email that the government will continue to fund the First Nations Policing Program which was established after the band constable program was ended.

Down the road, she said, the government will look at updating the program and its "financial sustainability."

Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson, who represents northern First Nations, said funding is only part of the problem. Band constables have been demoted to "safety officers" who are simply "the eyes and ears of the RCMP," she suggested.

"They don't really have a lot of authority in detaining when they need to and arresting people when they need to for the safety of the community," said North Wilson, who heads Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak.

"They don't have the jurisdiction any more."

Joe Dantouze is a councillor with the Northlands Denesuline First Nation west of Churchill near the Saskatchewan border. He told Mounties at a recent Assembly of First Nations meeting that his band constables have no access to the RCMP detention block.

That means his officers have had to drive detained people around all night in a band pickup truck, he said.

"Band constables are potentially violating the Criminal Code every time they detain a person," North Wilson said. "If this was happening in urban and other rural communities ... this would not be acceptable to any municipality, so this is not acceptable for our First Nations as well."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Liberation of Mosul 'imminent,' ISIS days numbered: UN envoy

    World News CTV News
    The liberation of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul "is imminent" and the days of the Islamic State extremist group's self-declared caliphate "are numbered," the U.N. envoy for Iraq said Monday. But Jan Kubis told the Security Council that despite progress, fighting remains "a tremendous challenge" because IS fighters are increasingly using civilians as human shields in "a last-gasp effort that reveals little more than the inherent inhuman barbarity of the terrorists. Source
  • Canadian officials express concern, solidarity after deadly explosion in U.K.

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians "are shocked by the news of the horrific attack in Manchester." Canadians are shocked by the news of the horrific attack in Manchester tonight. Please keep the victims & their families in your thoughts. Source
  • Military to help displaced residents of flooded Labrador town

    Canada News CTV News
    HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. -- Ottawa is sending military assistance to help the displaced residents of a flooded-ravaged town in central Labrador. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the federal government is stepping in to respond to the severe flooding in Mud Lake. Source
  • Police: Manchester concert explosions treated as a 'terrorist incident' [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. There were no immediate details of what happened during the concert by the American singer, but police advised the public to avoid the area around the Manchester Arena. Source
  • Brazil's Temer says he will only leave office if forced

    World News CTV News
    RIO DE JANEIRO -- Embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer says he will only leave office if forced out because stepping down would be an admission of guilt in a corruption scandal that has led to growing calls for his ouster. Source
  • Explosions reported at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured. There were no immediate details of what happened during the concert by the American singer, but police advised the public to avoid the area around the Manchester Arena. Source
  • 'Unbelievable': Dozens swarm dock where sea lion grabbed girl, despite warnings

    Canada News CBC News
    On Saturday, a girl was yanked off a dock in Richmond, B.C. by a California sea lion. Moments before, her family had thrown bread to the animal. Video of the incident has been viewed more than 14 million times. Source
  • First World War replica bi-plane squadron to fly coast-to-coast

    Canada News CTV News
    Allan Snowie admits his goggles did “mist up” on his first pass over the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in a First World War replica bi-plane ahead of the recent 100th anniversary of the pivotal battle. Source
  • This international student gets hard lesson in personal safety after 'brazen' purse snatching

    Canada News CBC News
    An international student got a tough lesson in personal safety after her purse was snatched amid the bustle of a busy brewery over the weekend in what police are calling a brazen theft. Areum An, 30, did what many were doing over the weekend — catching up with a friend at a restaurant over some beers. Source
  • 'Ultranationalist' group, worried about illegal crossings, monitors Quebec-U.S. border

    Canada News CBC News
    Over the holiday weekend, while many Quebecers were enjoying some overdue sunshine, a dozen people worried about lax border controls gathered in the woods near Hemingford, Que., in the hopes of staring down asylum seekers. Source