Metis minister ‘revolted’ by police brutality against Indigenous People

Metis minister ‘revolted’ by police brutality against Indigenous People

OTTAWA — Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal says he has been revolted by recent videotaped examples of “police brutality” against Indigenous People in Canada.

Vandal, who is Metis, told a House of Commons committee Tuesday that systemic racism against Indigenous People stems from the colonial attitude of Canada’s founding government, whose top policy objectives were ”to civilize, to Christianize and to assimilate Indigenous People into Canadian life.”

“That’s really the basis of the racism. It needs to stop,” he told the Indigenous and northern affairs committee.

“It needs a dramatic government intervention and I hope our government will be able to lead the way because the images that we saw of police brutality are absolutely unacceptable.

“We need to stop the hate, the violence and we need to stop the racism.”

Video surfaced earlier this month of an Inuk man being knocked over by the door of an RCMP vehicle in Nunavut and of an Alberta First Nations chief, Allan Adam, being tackled and punched in the head by a Mountie during an arrest over an expired licence plate.

As well, two Indigenous People have been shot dead by police in New Brunswick this month — Chantel Moore during what was supposed to be a wellness check by Edmundston police department officers and Rodney Levi after the RCMP was called to deal with an “unwanted person” at a barbecue.

“For me personally, they’re revolting,” Vandal said of the images of some of those incidents widely shown on television and online.

“It’s something that really our country, our society can no longer put up with.”

When he first got involved in local politics in his hometown of Winnipeg 20 years ago, Vandal said the Aboriginal justice inquiry was under way in Manitoba, which eventually came up with “a big book of recommendations” for addressing discrimination faced by Indigenous People from police, the courts and the prison system.

“The bottom line is 20-some years later there’s not a lot of change in the city of Winnipeg. We’ve had three shootings of young Indigenous People in the last six months and that’s unacceptable.”

Vandal was joined at the virtual committee meeting by Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, who also condemned the recent incidents.

“We have all been upset by the images on our screens and the undeniable evidence of systemic racism in Canada,” said Bennett.

“Right now, we are in a moment when Canadians are recognizing that there’s unfairness built into our systems, that these systems have always been unfair towards Indigenous Peoples,” said Miller.

Miller and Bennett both pointed to community-based Indigenous policing, which the government is working to advance, as part of the solution.

Vandal said the government’s commitment to self-determination for Indigenous communities so that they can “take care of their own governance … whether it’s child and family services, whether it’s policing, whether it’s health, I mean that basic philosophy I think is going to bring many more positive returns than what we’ve been doing thus far.”

New Democrat MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, who represents Nunavut, took issue with non-Indigenous Canadians discussing the discrimination faced by Indigenous People.

“I will say it’s been very difficult to listen to the conversations that have been going on and Indigenous experiences being discussed as if non-Indigenous peoples will ever be able to fully grasp what it means to be Indigenous in Canada,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press

racism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Maskwacis reporting 37 active cases

Numbers current as of Oct. 19

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID-19: One more death in central zone

Ponoka County on province’s watchlist

Photo submitted/ Millet In Bloom
Town of Millet declared Best Blooming Community

The Town of Millet is being recognized for their efforts to meet the challenges of 2020.

Many rural municipalities were concerned about a proposed reduction to their industrial revenues, but Alberta’s Municipal Affairs minister has come up with an alternative solution. (Photo contributed)
Province and rural municipalities agree on a plan to support Alberta’s energy industry

Creating new wells or pipelines would result in a three year ‘tax holiday’

Paved path to the accessible dock at Agur Lake Camp. Photo submitted/ Debbie Schneider.
B.C. Camp extremely grateful for a Calmar Business’ generous donation

B.C.’s only fully accessible campground floored by a Calmar Business’ generosity.

Conservative member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals say Tory effort to set up COVID-19 committee will be a confidence matter

The Tories were originally proposing an ‘anticorruption’ committee

Alberta Premier Jason Kenny and government house leader Jason Nixon chat before the speech from the throne delivered in Edmonton, Alta., on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Alberta politicians are to return to the legislature Tuesday with a plan to discuss up to 20 new bills — many of which are focused on the province’s economic recovery. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta legislature to resume Tuesday; focus to be on economic recovery

Opposition house leader Heather Sweet said the NDP will focus on holding Premier Jason Kenney

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

robbery
UPDATE: Suspect identified in early morning shooting

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen (Alberta government photo)
Big boost for Alberta college agriculture research

The $2-million agreement to benefit Lethbridge College’s applied research team

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Canadian couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

(The Canadian Perss)
Banff wolves have lower survival rate due to hunting, trapping outside park boundary

Researchers looked at 72 radio-collared wolves in the national park from 1987 to August 2019

Most Read