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$291.2 million for First Nations policing

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

By Dryden Observer Staff

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, announced this week an investment of $291.2 million over five years to improve policing in First Nation and Inuit communities.  This is in addition to the $522.5 million in existing funding and represents the largest federal financial commitment since 1991.

“With 42 First Nations, almost half of which are remote, fly-in locations, the Kenora riding relies heavily on the essential services provided by the Treaty Three Police Service (T3PS), Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (NAPS), and other policing services available to First Nations. This increase is historic and will result in much safer work environments for police officers and more secure communities for residents,” stated Nault.

This $291.2 million investment in addition to existing funding of $522.5 million will bring the federal government’s commitment in the First Nations Policing Program (FNPP) to $813.7 million.

The announcement was an encouraging sign for Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.

“I am pleased with today’s announcement, committing an additional $189.2 million (over five years) to $102 million committed to policing in Indigenous communities in Budget 2017. I am also encouraged that the Minister has reiterated his commitment to helping First Nation police services like the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service become fully designated by the rule of law. Today’s announcement sets a positive tone for the next round of funding negotiations. We look forward to continuing our progress with our federal and provincial Treaty partners on the designation of the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service as a fully mandated essential service, instead of being run as a program at the whim of these governments. In the meantime, these additional funds will help to increase the safety and security of our community members and officers.”

The announcement included $102 million as proposed in Budget 2017; an additional $144.4 million, starting in 2018-2019, to support priorities such as officer safety, policing equipment and salaries; as well as $44.8 million, starting in 2019-2020, for up to 110 additional officer positions. For the first time, the federal funding commitment will include a 2.75 per cent escalator to address inflation. This funding will be targeted to communities currently under the First Nations Policing Program (FNPP).

“While each community in the riding has distinctive needs when it comes to bringing their policing standards up to par, this announcement is certainly a huge step in the right direction,” said Nault.

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