First Nations chiefs and N.B. government prepare for second meeting
HALIFAX -- Three weeks after the first, over 15 First Nations chiefs will meet again with the New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and other government leaders to discuss the issue of systemic racism within the province’s policing and justice systems.
The chiefs specifically asked for a formal, independent commission of inquiry to investigate the deaths of Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi, during the last meeting on June 17.
Chief Allan Polchies Jr. says that request hasn’t changed.
“We are very firm in what we are asking for,” said Polchies Jr.
“We as indigenous people deal with systemic racism every single day. We live in a new century, 2020. Let’s all come together and make change.”
The Premier and Aboriginal Affairs minister, Jake Stewart, has said only 15-20 per cent of 797 recommendations from past inquiries have been implemented over 24 years. They have suggested a task force or review look into the issue.
“Advocating for a lesser option is, no,” Polchies said. “The task force is not going to have as much strength as an inquiry would. When you have indigenous lives at play here, a task force is not going to cut it.”
The meeting is scheduled for this Thursday.
The investigation into the deaths of Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi is being led by Quebec's independent police watchdog agency, known as the BEI, because New Brunswick has no oversight body of its own.
With files from The Canadian Press.