The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is calling for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to appoint a First Nations individual as the 25th RCMP Commissioner following the current commissioner’s retirement.
“We’d like to call upon the Prime Minister of Canada and those in power with the RCMP to appoint a First Nations commission to address the historic injustices of the RCMP and provide an unbiased approach to policing Indigenous people,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “It’s not enough to accept new Indigenous recruits as junior officers. We know change must come from the top down and our people need to be granted the opportunity to hold management positions.”
The RCMP will have 30 days to look for a replacement for retiring RCMP Commissioner, Brenda Lucki, who announced she would be stepping down from her position on March 17.
Cameron added that there are a number of accomplished, First Nations law enforcement agents in Canada who are prepared to create change within the justice system, if given the opportunity.
“This is an opportunity for Canada and the nation’s police service to fully embrace reconciliation and appoint a First Nations RCMP commissioner for the first time in history,” said FSIN Second Vice Chief Dutch Lerat. “Such an appointment could implement systemic changes throughout the ranks and introduce a service delivery model to address systemic racism.”
RCMP self-reporting employee diversity statistics from 2020 show that only 5.6 per cent of RCMP staff identify as Indigenous.
According to FSIN, there is no Indigenous representation in the current Senior RCMP Executive Committee, which includes the Contract and Indigenous Policing Deputy Commissioner, overseeing policing on more than 600 Indigenous communities.
“First Nations people distrust the current policing model,” said Lerat. “It’s connected to a legacy of trauma from negative interaction with police that continues today, as we see the over-representation of Indigenous people brought before justice, victimized and incarcerated.”
The FSIN said they will be sending a formal letter to the RCMP to encourage a First Nations’ perspective when appointing the RCMP Commissioner.