A need to overhaul Canada’s justice system expressed by the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nation.
Perry Bellegarde says this includes dealing with the racism shown by police against Indigenous people.
In a speech to a special meeting of the AFN, Bellegarde spoke specifically of the incident in Thunder Bay.
“Goodness gracious, we saw what happened in Thunder Bay. On-going things like that have got to stop. On-going racism and discrimination in all police forces has got to stop.”
Bellegarde would like to see more First Nations police officers, lawyers, judges and more representation on juries.
He’s also looking ahead to the next federal election.
The Chief says he first wants to see a number of pieces of legislation approved in Ottawa, including one around Indigenous languages.
“2019 is the year of the international year of Indigenous languages throughout the world. And wouldn’t it be great if Canada could get up and say “Hey, look world, this is what Canada is doing, and we have passed the Indigenous re-vitalization act.”
The National Chief adds First Nations helped flipped 22 ridings in the last election and are prepared to do it again if candidates don’t listen to their concerns.
“So you people running in federal elections… you better listen to Indian issues, First Nations issues, if you want to get elected… that’s the message.”
Bellegarde says are there still issues he hopes get resolved in Ottawa before that vote, including legislation around child welfare and Indigenous languages.