We need a made-in-New Brunswick public inquiry into systemic racism

 

Green Party Leader’s Statement

The Wolastoqey Chiefs first called for public inquiry into systemic racism in New Brunswick’s police and justice systems on June 6, which I and my colleagues supported. Chiefs from all three First Nations in New Brunswick are scheduled to meet with the Premier tomorrow, July 9th to present their terms-of-reference for a public inquiry.

Premier Higgs has been reluctant to support such an inquiry, favouring a task force to sort through relevant recommendations from national inquiries that have never been implemented.  However, we need a made-in-New Brunswick public inquiry into New Brunswick’s policing and justice systems in order to reveal how they are biased against Indigenous people here at home, so that action can be taken to change the system now.  

The inquiry must be Indigenous-led, and as recommended by the Wolastoqey Grand Council, include the participation of Wabanaki Grandmothers in discussions about the reform of our police and justice systems.

The inquiry will hold a mirror up to our policing and justice systems so that all New Brunswickers see society reflected back to us the way Indigenous people experience it.

Premier Higgs has the opportunity to bring about meaningful change for Indigenous people in New Brunswick, so I ask that he abandon his plan to create a task force to study the national recommendations of Canadian inquiries and launch the public inquiry that is needed. 

Successive governments have reviewed recommendations from past national enquiries without acting on any of them.  A made-in-New Brunswick inquiry to tackle systemic racism in our province’s institutions is essential for change to happen, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for all of us whose ancestors have settled here over the past 400 years. 

David Coon
New Brunswick Green Party Leader
MLA for Fredericton-South

Our Principles

>Living within Our Ecological Means

A culture of cooperation, caring and understanding is essential to ending violence in our society. Rehabilitation rather than vengeance must be the goal of our justice system.

> Local Self-Reliance

We must have the opportunity and the responsibility as citizens to contribute to the common good, which requires that all have the capacity to participate in community life.

> Real Democracy

Everyone must have equal access to the necessities of life and be treated with dignity and respect. Treaties with First Nations must be honoured.

> Social Justice and Equality

We must be able to participate in decisions that affect our lives and be guaranteed that our votes are reflected in the make-up of the Legislative Assembly.

> Active Citizenship

Our communities should be in control of their own destinies, supported by strong local economies, and sustained by local sources of food and renewable energy.

> A Culture of Peace and Respect

We must live within the ecological limits of the Earth, while meeting our needs without threatening our children's future or the survival of other species.

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