Currently, the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government is in negotiations with the Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Government of Quebec to renew the Tripartite Agreement that funds the Listuguj Police Department. Under the Tripartite Agreement, Canada supplies 52% of the funding while Quebec supplies the remaining 48%.
At the moment, the negotiations for increased funding to meet the needs of our police department and to ensure a healthy and successful work environment are not being met. On average the Listuguj Police Department runs a $200,000 deficit each year due to budget constraints.
The Listuguj Police Department is unique in the fact that they hold no prejudice and do not only patrol the community of Listuguj. The nearest SQ detachment is located 20 minutes away in Matapedia, Quebec. Often, our officers are first on the seen in neighboring communities providing first responder aid and assistance.
71% of all cases brought forward to the Court House in New Carlisle are submitted by the Listuguj Police Department. Despite all the good work they do, the Listuguj Police officers are not treated equally in pay compared to their provincial and federal counterparts. An officer from the SQ or RCMP makes nearly double what an officer from the LPD is payed despite having the same amount of training, sometimes more. As a result of this wage gap, there is a high turnover rate of police officers in the LPD because other locations simply pay more.
The need for increased funding is to correct the pay gap, hire more employees as our LPD office is under-staffed, fund new recruits, and to replace old equipment. Some of the equipment currently in use is outdated and poses additional risk to our officers in terms of safety and functionality.
It appears that the two respective governments are intentionally underfunding our police force in order for us to hire individuals from outside the community, mostly fresh out of the academy, for the purpose of gaining experience working in a First Nations community police setting. To what extent is unknown but the sentiment felt is that the purpose of underfunding our police force is to create complications and agitation in the work place to a point where we can no longer sustain our police detachment and have the province step in and police our community.
This was the case in Obedjiwan, Québec where they asked for a funding increase of $600,000 but were denied. The Quebec government had to step in and have the Sûreté du Québec police the community, costing the province $100,000 per week because the community could no longer fund their police department.
This Thursday (March 22nd, 2018) Councillor Lloyd Alcon will be testifying at the Viens Commission in Montreal to the importance of having our own Police Force and the negligent disregard of the combined governments for not considering native police as an essential service and merely that of a program.
For more information contact:
Gregory Wysote, Public Relations Officer
(418)-788-2136 ext. 2026