OTTAWA, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief
Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today expressed concerns and strong opposition to
a projected 19% cutback for First Nations policing in this year's
federal budget. We do not believe this is in the best interest of our
citizens and this is quite troubling for our communities.
National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated: "The proposed cuts to First
Nations policing are of tremendous concern to our people and to anyone
who cares about the safety and security of our citizens in our
communities. First Nation communities are already struggling under a
minimum budget for public security. This decision is being taken
without any consultation with First Nations and the Government of
Canada clearly does not understand the tremendous impact it will have
on the essential safety and security of our people. The cuts are
especially surprising given the government's purported 'law and order'
The National Chief stated he is seeking an immediate meeting with the
federal Minister of Public Safety and senior officials to resolve the
issue, noting that the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association have
expressed concerns as well. There has been no communication with First
Nations leadership by the federal Community Safety and Partnerships
Branch regarding funding cutbacks, and the Minister and the Branch have
a responsibility to advise First Nations because this affects their
legal obligations to their officers and will impact policing budgets
across the country.
"First Nations people are already some of the most vulnerable people in
Canada, exposed to higher incidences of crime and violence than other
Canadians," said the National Chief. "We should all be working to
support and promote First Nations policing as an essential service in
protecting our people and communities."
A recent federal government review of the First Nations Policing Program
clearly indicated the need for an expansion of the services and that
policing needs are greater now than there were when First Nations
Policing was created. The report indicates the First Nations population
has grown significantly and the social and safety issues are more
significant today, necessitating more support.
Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the First Nations Chiefs of Police
Association (FNCPA) signed a Protocol Agreement on December 11, 2007.
The AFN supports First Nations Policing through the FNCPA and fully
supports their ability to meet the demands and requirements placed on
National Chief Atleo has written to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews
seeking an urgent meeting to address this situation and possible
negative ramifications in First Nation communities.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.
SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
For further information:
Don Kelly, Assembly of First Nations A/Communications Director
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Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer
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Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer
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