Canada's NDP


March 28th, 2024

New Democrats calls for answers on failing First Nations and Inuit Policing Program

CAMPBELL RIVER — This week, the Auditor General (AG) released a report indicating serious concerns about the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program, which was supposed to provide communities with a dedicated RCMP officer with services that are tailored to their needs. The AG stated that “Public Safety Canada’s and the RCMP’s actions are not aligned with building trust with First Nations and Inuit communities.”

NDP MP Rachel Blaney (North Island Powell River) and NDP Indigenous Services critic MP Lori Idlout (Nunavut) slammed the Liberal government for failing to protect First Nations and Inuit communities and they’re saying the program urgently needs to be fixed.

“Local First Nations want to know that the federal government is working to remedy years of mistreatment and harm done at the hands of police services and the government itself,” said Blaney. “So, it’s alarming to see that the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program has utterly failed - especially after the government put $500 million towards the program. Small communities, like ours, deserve equity in policing, no one should have to wait hours for help. I’d like to know where all this money went since the AG found that barely any improvements have been made to First Nations and Inuit policing, and with small communities falling behind.”

The AG’s report found that only 38 per cent of communities had a dedicated officer, and Public Safety Canada was not working in partnership with Indigenous communities to provide equitable and appropriate services.

"The RCMP has enforced colonial and genocidal policies to oppress Indigenous peoples for decades,” said Idlout. “There is deep-seeded trauma and a distrust of the police in Indigenous communities. It is appalling that the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program did not involve culturally specific training to understand the culture of the community officers are serving. To work toward reconciliation, we need more of an effort to hire Indigenous law enforcement or to incorporate Indigenous laws. These omissions perpetuate the systemic racism and over-representation in the justice system.

“The NDP will fight to ensure Indigenous peoples can live in safe communities, with culturally appropriate policing.”