THUNDER BAY – (Updated) NAN is angered by the federal policing announcement. “The years of chronic underfunding of our policing service has put our communities in grave jeopardy and is worsened by the failure to legislate a regulatory framework for Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (NAPS),” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, who holds the policing portfolio for NAN.
“NAN can no longer operate policing under the current terms and we are not willing to extend those terms which are set to expire on March 31, as it falls short of the necessary safety services required in NAN First Nations.”
Federal Policing Announcement Angers NAN
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler says “The recent announcement made by Federal Public Minister Vic Toews to extend the status-quo for funding for the current design of First Nations Policing is building on failure”.
Kenora MP Greg Rickford, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs states, “This initiative has received wide support from First Nation Chiefs, including those from the great Kenora riding, who concur with National Chief Atleo, who said, ‘security is of paramount importance to our people…so I think it’s important’, that this is a long-term signal, as the Minister of Public Safety had confirmed yesterday”.
Rickford added, “Canadians know they can count on this government to give police the tools they need to do their job. This is true in all communities across Canada, including aboriginal communities.
“Our government has stood up for matrimonial real property rights on reserve, tougher sentences for dangerous criminals and funding to keep young people out of gangs,”continued Rickford. “Shockingly, the NDP has opposed our government on each and every one of these initiatives. Actually, I am not that surprised”.
On February 19, 2013, NAN issued a Public Safety Notice to the Chief Coroner for Ontario and several Federal ministers, including Minister Toews, declaring that the lives of those policed by NAPS are in ‘grave danger’ and stressing the need for a regulatory framework for NAPS. The federal and provincial governments have ignored this Public Safety Notice.
Today, NAN Deputy Grand Chief Fiddler wrote Minister Toews confirming NAN’s position that a simple extension of the status-quo, as it relates to First Nations policing, is unacceptable and will not be endorsed by NAN as a signatory to the Tripartite agreement.
“NAN communities continue to be put at risk when it comes to safety which is blatantly apparent in the appalling conditions that exist including outdated radio systems, severe staffing shortages and many NAPS detachments which do not meet the National Building Code,” said Fiddler. “The prospect of extending the status-quo is not an option for NAPS.”
The Coroner’s Inquest into the Deaths of Jamie Goodwin and Ricardo Wesley (the Kashechewan Inquest) in 2008, The Honourable Frank Iacobucci’s report of First Nations representation on Ontario Juries, and the Ipperwash Inquiry recommendations all support notions of regulatory regimes and enhanced funding for First Nations policing.
*Updated March 6 2013 to add comment from Kenora MP Greg Rickford.