QUEEN’S PARK – Doug Ford needs to begin fixing the provincial justice system that violates the rights of First Nations people and isolated communities like Pikangikum, said Sol Mamakwa, NDP Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic, during question period Wednesday.
Mamakwa referred to a recent decision from an Ontario judge that recognizes the difficulties isolated First Nations communities face in serving sentences, difficulties that the justice system currently ignores and violates their equality rights.
“Last week an Ontario judge spoke on the difficulty First Nations people in isolated communities like Pikangikum have in serving intermittent jail sentences,” said Mamakwa, MPP for Kiiwetinoong. “His ruling stated that this difficulty violates their equality rights.
“I have risen many times in the house and talked about the unequal application of justice for First Nations people across Ontario and especially in Kiiwetinoong.
“Judge David Gibson’s decision reaffirms the need for transformation of the justice system as it pertains to First Nations offenders. Offences that would result in a fine or a warning anywhere else result in jail time. Issues that aren’t criminal, but health related, are ignored.
“Will the Ford government honour this decision and fix this discrimination and racism?”
Mamakwa said there is an urgent need to transform the justice system so it is culturally relevant and inclusive of Indigenous history and traditions.
“Justice Gibson’s decision reaffirms the position of many First Nations leaders and legal experts that the colonial justice system simply does not work for our communities,” said Mamakwa.
“In the midst of a pandemic we should not be seeking to fill our jails and so I call on the Crown to not waste any more time by seeking an appeal and to use this opportunity to transform the justice system for Indigenous people in Ontario.
"Pikangikum needs to see real community led, First Nations led transformation of the justice system.”
Video: MPP Sol Mamakwa’s questions to Doug Ford