NDP Official Opposition Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic and Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa and Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell released the following statement in response to the Office of the Independent Police Review Commission (OPIRD) report on Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation:
“Indigenous people face systemic racism every day. Racism built into existing systems have kept Indigenous people trapped in poverty, ill-health, and all too often a deeply troubling relationship with institutions like police services. The OPIRD’s report on Indigenous People and the Thunder Bay Police Service highlights the very real impacts of institutional racism on Indigenous people and communities. The report shows that much more must be done, and done urgently, to address institutional racism.
The Independent Police Review Director points out that unequal access to justice has resulted in Indigenous lives being devalued. We agree with the director’s recommendations, including the re-investigation of nine sudden deaths — where nine individuals and the families that mourn them may have been denied justice. The crisis of trust between Indigenous people and the Thunder Bay Police Service requires immediate action.
Our province needs to take seriously the need for reconciliation. We’re calling on the provincial government to provide the Thunder Bay Police Service with the tools and resources it needs to do that, including the resources it needs to work towards the implementation of the recommendations in this OPIRD report.”