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Indigenous groups are arguing for the right to supervise policing in Canada.
According to La Presse, Indigenous activist Michele Audette stated that, for decades, the way police has dealt with indigenous communities has been dysfunctional. She claims that far too many indigenous people die in encounters with police, and at the other end of things, police don’t do anything for indigenous victims of crimes, especially women and girls.
“It is urgent, very urgent, that we have a civilian body,” Audette stated. She mentioned testimonies from over the past three years of hearing the stories of indigenous families.
One key point, Audette says she kept coming across was that victims often felt they had no recourse if the perpetrator was a law enforcement official, or even a chief or elder. In short, structures to oversee those in positions of authority are sorely lacking in indigenous communities.
Her inquiry released its definitive report back in June of last year. It clearly exposed multiple instances where increased oversight over police appears to be urgently necessary, and recommended that this be accomplished by means of forming civilian bodies composed of members of the indigenous community.
The Trudeau government has not taken significant action according to critics.
Tim Warmington, speaking on behalf of Public Safety Canada, stated: “While still early days, it can be expected that questions around effective civilian police oversight and the relationship between Canada’s Indigenous population and police services will surface and will need to be carefully assessed as work progresses on this mandate commitment,”