FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
Discrimination in First Nations Public Safety: the AFNQL Declares an Emergency Situation
Montreal, March 22, 2018 – Following the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and during its hearing today before the Commission of inquiry on relations between Aboriginal people and certain public services in Quebec: Listening, reconciliation and progress in Montreal, the AFNQL intends to demonstrate that the treatment of First Nation public safety, which among others results in the underfunding of police forces, confirms that security in our communities does not get the same consideration as that of non-native citizens. The only conclusions in these circumstances is that there is discrimination. The AFNQL declares the urgent need to act to put an immediate end to this discrimination, to make room for full, fair and equitable essential services as those enjoyed by other citizens.
“The situation has gone on long enough and needs to be corrected without delay. How can we not react when the safety of our members is greatly compromised? That is not acceptable. We expect the Commission to take action of the unfair treatment imposed on our police forces, which are at the mercy of governments that take arbitrary measures with potentially tragic consequences in the execution of their work,” said the Chief of the AFNQL Ghislain Picard.
Just days away before the expiry of the agreements between the federal, provincial governments and First Nation governments, the AFNQL considers the situation untenable. The two governments determine alone the conditions that will govern future agreements to ensure the continuation of public security services within the communities. Are non-Indigenous police forces subject to the same conditions and are they subjected to the same pressures? No! Because public safety is an essential service anywhere else, except i First Nation communities. It should be noted that the funding of police services and the working and operating conditions of First Nation police forces are considerably inferior than those of other police forces in Quebec, including the Sûreté du Québec.
“First Nation Policing is still recognized as a program, not an essential service as they claim. If it was, we would not be in this same situation year after year. To start, we need legislated funding,” said Councillor Lloyd Alcon and AFNQL spokesperson for Public Safety.
“How can we accept such a discriminatory situation in a society like ours? Inhuman treatment related to the safety of our communities must give way to real justice and respect for the fundamental right to individual and collective security to which all citizens are entitled, regardless of who they are and where they are. In the face of such a nonsense, how can we believe in the reconciliation that the federal and provincial governments keep on boasting when really it is nothing more but smoke and mirrors? Instead of determining between themselves the rules that conduct our policing services, we invite them to sit down with us to define together the future of public safety for our Nations and to guarantee the security to which our people are entitled,” concluded Chief Picard.
Watch the live testimony of the AFNQL representatives at: https://www.cerp.gouv.qc.ca/index.php?id=53
About the AFNQL
The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the political organization regrouping 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. Follow us on Twitter @APNQL
– 30 –
Alain Garon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cell. : 418 254-4620