Blair says feds want to make First Nations policing an ‘essential service’

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says First Nations policing needs to be made an essential service — something Indigenous leaders have been pressing the government to do.

Blair is telling the House of Commons public safety committee today the government will work with Indigenous communities to come up with a legislative framework that ensures First Nations have the policing services they need and deserve.

Concerns about police brutality and discrimination have sparked rallies and cries for change around the world since the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by Minnesota police.

In Canada, there have been outcries over the recent police killings of Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi in New Brunswick and the battering of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam by RCMP in Alberta.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said she was struggling with the notion of systemic racism in the police force, only to acknowledge its existence days later.

She is slated to address the committee today following Blair’s appearance.

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