Bill 54: The AFNQL is requesting a federal-provincial meeting on policing services

    WENDAKE, QC, Jan. 31 /CNW Telbec/ - In line with its participation in the
proceedings of the Commission des institutions regarding consultations on Bill
54 (An Act amending the Police Act and other legislative provisions), the
Chief of the Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL),
requested an immediate meeting with the Ministers responsible for
Quebec-Canada Public Security.
    "Once again AFNQL finds itself in a situation which unfortunately is
becoming too familiar. It has to explain, one more time, its reality: a
political, social and economic reality which is differs from that of
Quebecers. It is a reality that can't be ignored, but which is constantly
disregarded. It is a reality that will not go away, even if people turn a
blind eye. A portion of this reality is that, in Quebec, there are two groups
of First Nations: those who are regulated by a government agreement and the
others. This situation has significant impacts, among other things, on the
services which are available to our populations.
    Bill 54 contains elements which will authorize the "Government to enter
into an agreement with two or more Native communities in order to establish a
joint police force to serve those communities".
    Section 3 of Bill 54, although brief in content, has the potential to be
far reaching in its implementation. The AFNQL anticipates Bill 54 to be a
positive step forward. The proposed amendments to Section 90 of the Police Act
will permit the Minister to address the long standing grievances expressed by
several First Nations who wish to group their police services in a manner they
feel will best serve their communities. Further to that, it will allow First
Nations who have not expressed the desire to group their forces to explore the
    "Many of our communities have outstanding problems regarding their police
forces, as a result of Government policy which does not correspond to the
reality and the expectations of the communities. The situation of public
security which prevails in the communities requires the immediate intervention
of the federal and provincial governments" concluded Chief Picard.
    The minister must grab this opportunity to initiate an open dialogue with
our communities, with the participation of his federal counterpart, in order
to resolve situations which have prevailed for too long and which compromise
the safety of our populations.

    The Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the regional
organization which regroups the Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and

For further information:

For further information: Alain Garon, Communication Officer, AFNQL,
(418) 842-5020, Cellular:  (418) 956-5720

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