Green Party leader backs Chiefs’ call for public inquiry into systemic racism

FREDERICTON – An inquiry into systemic anti-indigenous racism in our policing and justice systems would hold a mirror up to our society, and will be startling for many New Brunswickers, according to Green Party leader and MLA for Fredericton South David Coon. All the more important, according to Coon, is that we see our society reflected back to us the way indigenous people experience it.

“A made-in-New Brunswick public inquiry is essential, not to point out that there are people in society who hold hateful views of indigenous people, but to reveal how the system itself is biased against indigenous people so that action can be taken to change the system,” said Green Party leader David Coon. “That is why First Nation Chiefs are asking for a pubic inquiry, that is indigenous-led, with a tight timeframe to report back with specific actions that are ready to implement to end systemic racism. That is why my party and I support the Chiefs’ insistence on a public inquiry.”

The Wolastoqey Chiefs first called for public inquiry into systemic racism in New Brunswick’s police and justice systems on June 6, citing its necessity to restore trust. Chiefs from all three First Nations in New Brunswick are scheduled to meet with the Premier on July 8th.

“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 task force to study the national recommendations of Canadian inquiries, and launch the public inquiry that is needed,” said Coon. “There are plenty of smart people in the public service that can bring forward pertinent recommendations from past national enquiries to be implemented, but we need a made-in-New Brunswick inquiry to tackle systemic racism in New Brunswick.”