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“There is no reason why residents of First Nations in Ontario should have lower-quality policing than non-Aboriginal Ontarians do.”

The Honourable Justice Sidney B. Linden, Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry (2007)

About the Case

The above image shows two police stations, one in Kashechewan First Nation (left, pop. 1,700) and one in the Town of Gogama (right, pop. 450), both in northern Ontario. One looks well-kept and functional – the other was so dilapidated and unsafe that it burned to the ground in 2006, killing two young men trapped in their cells. The Kashechewan police station was located in a converted residence, and shared the building with a post office (the side pictured above). This is an example of how policing in many First Nations communities is far worse than the policing in non-Aboriginal communities.

In 2007, seven First Nations (the Mushkegowuk First Nations) started a human rights complaint against the federal government about this discriminatory treatment of First Nations people. The complaint is simply asking for equality in policing.

We acknowledge, honour and commend our community police officers for their bravery, care, dedication and hard work. NAPS officers work extremely hard and under very difficult circumstances. However, despite their hard work, policing services in the Mushkegowuk First Nations are inferior to the policing services in non-Aboriginal communities. We think this is discrimination. Read more about the inferior policing in the Mushkegowuk communities.

The disparity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal policing services stems from serious flaws in the federal government’s First Nations Policing Program and from a lack of federal funding and support. Read more about the flaws in the federal government’s First Nations policing program.

The federal government has taken an extremely shameful and obstructionist position in the human rights case. Instead of trying to help solve problems, it is defending its right to provide substandard policing. It relies on technical legal arguments to say that the alleged inequality is not subject to the Canadian Human Rights Act. Read more about the federal government’s shameful defence of its discriminatory actions.

The history of inferior, substandard policing is long and well-documented. For detailed information on the case and the history of inequality, see reports and documents.

Mushkegowuk Council

The Mushkegowuk First Nations Communities

The Mushkegowuk First Nations Communities

The human rights complaint is brought on behalf of the residents of seven First Nations located in the Moose River watershed and western James Bay area of northern Ontario. The seven First Nations are members of Mushkegowuk Council, a regional Aboriginal government. The First Nations are Attawapiskat First Nation, Kashechewan First Nation, Fort Albany First Nation, Moose Cree First Nation, Taykwa Tagamou Nation, Chapleau Cree First Nation, and Missanabie Cree First Nation. Read more at the Mushkegowuk Council website.

 

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