I just want to acknowledge the territory that I'm on right now, the Shuswap territory in British Columbia.
Seeing that I only have seven minutes, I just want to thank everybody for this very important matter in terms of policing. I think, during this pandemic since March, we've seen a lot of situations where many first nations have been adversely affected by policing, whether it was the three in Winnipeg, Chantel Moore on a wellness check in New Brunswick or Mr. Levi in New Brunswick as well. I myself have a family member, Everett Riley Patrick, who died in custody in Prince George, British Columbia.
Going forward, I do have a presentation. It was quite lengthy, and it really talked about the history of policing, not only in British Columbia but, I suppose, Canada itself.
I just want to move right to the recommendations, which, I think, are quite important. I have 14 recommendations that came from our organizations. I just want to note, too, that, as the regional chief of British Columbia, I hold this file for justice, as well as Ghislain Picard. He's the regional chief for Quebec and Labrador.
The first recommendation is really to accelerate federal action on the calls to justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The federal government finalized the report last year and promised an action plan within a year. That year has passed, and right now we really need those calls to justice implemented. There were well over 231 recommendations.
Recommendation number two is working with first nations on a legislative framework to support first nations-led policing with the proper financial resources to support self-determining efforts of first nations policing services. Recently we heard from the federal government that there is a promise to go from program funding to essential services funding, but it has to be much more than that, and more so for first nations that are asserting their sovereignty and their self-determination in terms of policing. There are tripartite agreements with many first nations and also with first nations that have treaties, and those need to be finalized in terms of making it clear how those laws are implemented. Really, I think creating a better relationship with federal and provincial governments is required.
Recommendation three is federal and provincial support for first nations' restorative justice initiatives and respect for the jurisdiction that arises from such initiatives. Prior to colonization, many first nations, Inuit and Métis peoples had their own model of policing and their own laws. They asserted their laws, and those laws need to be upheld.
Recommendation four is to immediately establish an independent review of the RCMP's operational practices involving wellness checks that provides recommendations for reforms. As expounded in point five, police are ill-equipped to deal with sensitive situations involving wellness checks. An independent review is needed to make recommendations on how other services, like mental health support, homelessness and other social work services, can be addressed without the police, and more importantly, in terms of mental health, it's really required there.
Recommendation five is redirecting fiscal resources from militarized policing to much-needed and more effective social supports such as mental health support, homelessness support and social work support that do not require police presence.
Recommendation six is the implementation of zero-tolerance policies on the use of excessive force.
Recommendation seven is for a review of the RCMP Act to include providing more power to a civilian oversight body and providing provisions that clearly state first nations' jurisdiction in matters of policing.
Recommendation eight is to develop legislation that outlaws white supremacist ideologies, while simultaneously increasing the role of the Canadian Human Rights Commission to deal with the private matters involving racist hate speech and action.
Recommendation nine is for greater accountability for the protection and respect of the fundamental human rights of first nations, including the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Recommendation 10 is to increase the use of police body cameras in first nations communities and access to video records.
Recommendation 11 is to enhance de-escalation and implicit bias training, including cross-cultural training.
Recommendation 12 calls for recruitment and promotion of first nations within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Recommendation 13 is to change the name of Canada's national police force to police service—it's not a “force”, but should be a “service”—to signal to the rest of Canada that violence towards first nations and other racialized groups is no longer tolerated.
Recommendation 14 is to create a national first nations justice strategic framework, action plan and commitments, led by first nations with the full support and partnership of Canada and the provinces.
For British Columbia, we have a British Columbia first nations justice strategy that involves justice not only within the province of British Columbia, but nationally. I believe we're the only province and region that has a strategic plan. Thanks are due to our chair, Doug White, who's on this call right now, and our B.C. First Nations Justice Council for developing that plan. We need more like these.
Currently, we are working on a proposal to the federal government, and certainly we need support from other regions. We're out there soliciting other regions and other provinces' first nations to say what they would see strategically in a national justice strategy.
I think it really involves policing. For many years, since colonization began, the police force was used to take our people off the land. More recently, with the advent of the residential school policies, many of our children were taken from our homes and brought to residential schools.
In my language, Dakelh, the Carrier language, we call the RCMP nilhchuk-un, which, interpreted in our language, is “those who take us away”. Really, it was the RCMP who took our children away. In many respects, that's the way we still see the RCMP—as we've seen even during this pandemic—because of the many instances of excessive use of force on our indigenous people across this country. There definitely needs to be systemic change, away from very punitive policies towards indigenous peoples and racialized minorities in Canada.
Here, what we're looking at is more restorative justice and a call to look towards rehabilitation and towards alternatives to jails. In Canada and British Columbia, many first nations lead statistically in terms of incarceration rates and also in terms of those who have died during custody.
Right now, policing is seen as mainly a program fund, although Minister Blair has promised us right now that it will become more essential services funding. That is a positive move, but I think it needs to be more than that. You'll definitely hear from other indigenous leaders in this presentation calling for the same thing. We definitely need a change in policing in this country that we call Canada.
With that, I'd like to thank you all for listening to my presentation today. I look forward to the other presenters here today.
Mahsi cho, thank you very much.