Category: NEWS Created on Tuesday, 03 April 2012 14:43 Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00 Published Date By: Mary Agnes Welch
MANITOBA'S First Nations will go to court today to stop a new 20-year deal to keep the Mounties in the province.
Led by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the First Nations say they were left out of negotiations between Ottawa and the province on the new RCMP operation-and-funding agreement signed Thursday.
"They certainly didn't consult with me and my First Nation," said Pine Creek Chief Charles Boucher. "We want a meaningful partnership."
Boucher will join Grand Chief Derek Nepinak and others this morning for a press conference once their application has been filed in court. They will argue the new agreement should be postponed because Ottawa and the province "neglected to consult with First Nations in Manitoba in respect of the police services provided with respect to their traditional territories," according to a news release.
Boucher said the RCMP, Ottawa and the province ought to have conducted a proper needs assessment on reserves before signing the agreement. He said RCMP officers working on reserves need better vehicles, more manpower and more training.
"No disrespect to the RCMP, but the gaps do exist," said Boucher Monday night.
And, by excluding First Nations from negotiations, the federal and provincial governments missed a perfect opportunity to discuss long-term solutions to on-reserve crime and policing, said Boucher. That could have included more First Nations people hired into the RCMP or the creation of another aboriginal-run police force like the Dakota Ojibway Police Service.
The 20-year contract, called the provincial police services agreement, broadly lays out how and where the RCMP will fight crime in the province. It also commits Manitoba to paying roughly 70 per cent of the cost of the RCMP, with Ottawa picking up the balance.
The new 20-year deal renewed the original agreement reached in 1992.