Ministerial Question Period: Indigenous Police Services

By: The Hon. Marty Klyne

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Hon. Marty Klyne: Minister, your mandate letter includes continued work with First Nations partners to co-develop a legislative framework for First Nations policing, and to continue to engage with the Inuit and Métis on policing matters.

You previously indicated your hope to table such legislation in fall 2022. However, last month, The Canadian Press reported uncertainty about when — and if — the government will table a First Nations policing bill this year, including to recognize First Nations policing as an essential service. I note that Budget 2021 made significant funding commitments for the co-development process. Minister, in terms of delivering the subject legislation, when can Canadians expect the bill’s introduction?

Hon. Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Public Safety: Thank you for the question, senator. It has to be as quickly as possible, but it has to be in the right way. That is the enduring lesson of reconciliation. I assure you that we have been working around the clock with Indigenous leaders, including Regional Chief Teegee and Regional Chief Picard, both of whom sit on the joint task force for Indigenous policing with the Assembly of First Nations, or AFN, but equally with rights holders and title holders directly in their communities, to ensure that we are building this legislation in a manner that is consistent with the principles of co-development.

In the meantime, we have allocated a historic level of funding under the First Nations and Inuit Policing Program, which we are rolling out at an accelerated rate — $860 million. This is resulting in concrete progress, like the announcements we have made with Siksika Nation, with James Smith Cree Nation and in Nunavut, as well as the work we are doing in the Mohawk territory, including in Akwesasne, where just last week we made another global announcement of $12.1 million in partnership with Chief Abram Benedict. That is the proof that we are making progress, but we still have work to do on the legislation; we are committed to doing it.

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