OTTAWA, Feb. 27, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - "Stephen Harper has recently stated
to his caucus that the safety of the populations and the communities is
one of his priorities."
"Apparently, this priority does not apply to First Nations", said
Ghislain Picard, Chief of the AFNQL, in support for the many Chiefs and
police officers present yesterday in Ottawa to denounce the negligence
of the federal Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, and the
indifference of the Harper Government when it comes to security in
First Nation communities.
"It seems Minister Toews does not take to heart the critical situation
of police services of our communities, a critical situation which he
created himself by refusing to commit to an adequate and long-term
financing of our police services. Twenty-six communities of the AFNQL
will find themselves without police services on next April 1st. More than 240 of our competent and well trained police officers will
find themselves in a situation of uncertainty. Why? What is going to
happen? It is to ask this question to the Minister and to try and find
responses that our Chiefs were gathered yesterday in Ottawa with
several of their Chiefs and police officers", added Chief Picard.
For more than twenty years, police services in First Nation communities
have been governed by tripartite agreements of which the First Nations,
the federal government and the provincial government are signatory and
the two levels of government providing respectively 52 and 48% of the
financing. The signing of eighteen of these policing agreements
affecting more than twenty-six communities is in jeopardy because the
federal Minister of Public Safety refuses to renew the commitment of
his department, without giving any explanation.
"Our Chiefs and councils, our communities are making considerable
efforts to bring concrete solutions to the social problems plaguing
their communities and to the consequences of these social issues on
public security. Our police services are key contributors. Why
jeopardize all the work already done?
The Chiefs and Chiefs of Police of the AFNQL, gathered yesterday in
Ottawa, made a specific proposal to Minister Toews: on the one hand,
that he confirms now and for one year the current level of funding and,
on the other, that he commits to initiating immediately effective and
respectful discussions with Chiefs of the AFNQL and their Chiefs of
Police, with a view to ending very quickly the dangerous climate of
uncertainty which currently prevails amongst First Nations.
I am also making an appeal to the new federal Minister of Aboriginal
Affairs, Mr. Bernard Valcourt. As a result of past experiences, Mr.
Valcourt fully understands the reality of First Nations. I therefore
ask him to make representations to his colleague of Public Safety, to
help us make him see reason, to convince him to finally live up to his
responsibilities and to engage in a long-term commitment to adequately
fund the police services of our First Nations", concluded Chief
About the AFNQL
The Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the
political organization regrouping 43 Chiefs of the First Nations of
Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql-afnql.com.
SOURCE: ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS OF QUEBEC AND LABRADOR
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