Earlier today, the six Chiefs of the Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick, alongside the Chiefs of the Mi’kmaq nation, met with Premier Blaine Higgs and several ministers of his cabinet by video-conference.
The Chiefs raised our concerns about systemic bias and racism against Indigenous people in our police and justice systems. We reiterated our call for an independent inquiry into these problems that would be Indigenous-led and have tight timelines to ensure prompt action.
Our people have participated in national inquiries and we have heard words spoken by governments, and still we come back to the same point we reached these past weeks. We need action now.
We asked Premier Higgs to appoint a commission of inquiry as soon as possible and to commit to implementing its recommendation.
We were very disappointed with Premier Higgs’ response. Despite the fact that his minister of aboriginal affairs has recognized that bias and racism exists, Premier Higgs is not prepared to recognize that. And even though his minister believes an inquiry should be called, Premier Higgs refuses to support it. We hope that the legislature will adopt Motion 69 calling for an inquiry and that that will cause Premier Higgs to finally relent, listen to Indigenous and non- Indigenous voices and appoint this inquiry.
Chief Ross Perley,
Chief Alan Polchies Jr.,
Sitansisk (St. Mary’s)
Chief Patricia Bernard,
Chief Shelley Sabattis,
Chief Gabriel Atwin,
Chief Tim Paul,
Media Contact: Gillian Paul, 506-461-1187, firstname.lastname@example.org