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

  • Israel faces potential deadlock in a closely contested vote

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israel is headed toward an unprecedented repeat election on Tuesday with no guarantee that the do-over vote will produce a more decisive result than the inconclusive one last April. The Israeli electorate is deeply divided along religious, ethnic and ideological lines and the fragmented parliamentary system makes coalition building a tricky business. Source
  • Indonesian police arrest 185 suspected of starting forest fires

    World News CBC News
    Indonesian authorities arrested 185 people suspected of starting the forest fires that are spreading a thick, noxious haze around Southeast Asia, police said Monday. Indonesia and neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia are regularly hit by smoky haze from slash-and-burn clearances of forests for timber and palm oil plantations, but conditions this year have been the worst since 2015 due to an El Niño weather pattern causing an extended dry spell. Source
  • U.S. strike against GM threatens Canadian plants

    Canada News CBC News
    As 49,000 United Auto Workers in the U.S. strike against General Motors, there's a risk the walkout could shut down GM Canada's plants and auto-parts makers in Ontario. GM Canada says it is monitoring the situation closely for any impact to Canadian operations. Source
  • The Weather Network predicts average fall, cold winter ahead

    Canada News CTV News
    Canadians can expect average temperatures this fall that will give way to a cold winter in central and eastern parts of the country, according to The Weather Network. The network is predicting Western Canada, including B.C. Source
  • Toronto homeowner with nut allergy fights for removal of walnut tree in backyard

    Canada News CTV News
    A homeowner with a nut allergy will find out on Monday if an application to remove a walnut tree from the property’s backyard has been approved. According to City of Toronto documents, the North York resident has been fighting to remove the tree since 2017 after an initial bid was rejected. Source
  • U.S. bomb-sniffing dogs sent to Jordan now dying from poor treatment

    World News CTV News
    Bomb-sniffing dogs sent from the United States to its Middle Eastern ally Jordan are falling ill and dying due to poor treatment and negligence, a federal investigation has found. A year-long evaluation by inspectors at the U.S. Source
  • Mark Ruffalo smashes Boris Johnson's Hulk comparison

    World News CTV News
    Mark Ruffalo, the actor who plays the anger-prone Hulk in the "Avengers" movie franchise, has struck out at U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson for suggesting Britain could break free of the EU's "manacles," like the Marvel superhero. Source
  • Black college, Papa John's blame each other over lost funds

    World News CTV News
    LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A US$1 million donation by the disgraced founder of Papa John's pizza to a historically black college has prompted the school to give up $20,000 in scholarships from the company. The Courier Journal reports that only hours after John Schnatter announced his donation to Simmons College, the school's development director declined the company's pledge to help 10 students with $2,000 each toward tuition. Source
  • Israeli PM vows to annex 'all the settlements' in West Bank

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Monday to annex "all the settlements" in the West Bank, including an enclave deep in the heart of the largest Palestinian city, in a last-ditch move that appeared aimed at shoring up nationalist support the day before a do-over election. Source
  • Liberals to re-record French version of campaign theme song after hitting sour note

    Canada News CBC News
    Are the Liberals removing one hand for tomorrow? That's what some say the new French-language version of the federal party's theme song implies. The English version of One Hand Up, recorded by The Strumbellas, goes, "We can hold one hand up for tomorrow. Source