Shomporko Desk:-The national head of the Assembly of First Nations says it’s time lawmakers and policing specialists move past the topic of whether fundamental prejudice exists in their foundations and begin plotting solid strides for police change.
Chief Perry Bellegarde says the discussion needs to advance from its reality in the powers to how change is actualized. He says any dependable change must originate from the top and funnel down to individual ranks.
“Systemic racism needs systemic change,” he said. “Excessive use of force is clear, it’s there. We’ve got to work together to fix it. That’s what we’ve got to put our energies and focus our attention on going forward.”
This comes after a week of conflicting statements from high-level RCMP officers and politicians about systemic racism in the national policing service and elsewhere.
Early in the week, Alberta RCMP Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said he didn’t believe systemic racism existed in Canadian policing. That was followed by comments from national commissioner Brenda Lucki who said she “struggles” with the term after hearing a number of different definitions.
On Friday evening, both commissioners walked back their statements and confirmed racism is indeed systemic throughout the ranks.
Bellegarde says concrete action could look like the introduction of police body cameras — a move the RCMP has agreed to implement — improved screening to pluck out racist members, or getting more First Nations people in positions of police authority.
“There are so many things that can be looked at, we’ve got to start that process now,” he said.
Photo credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
News source: ctvnews