CACP Bulletin

Summer 2016

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8 CACP Summer 2016 U pon reflection, the year 2015 may have been a watershed year in the evolving relationships among Canada's indigenous citizens and its policing system. The long anticipated Truth and Reconciliation report was released. The chorus of voices calling for an inquiry into the murdered and missing indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) gained in breadth and volume, with many police leaders beginning to join in. Accusations of colonial racism in policing and in whole cities were publicly denied by some and acknowledged by others, coupled in the latter case with pledges to root it out. In the midst of this, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police made a bold decision: they would host a national conference in Winnipeg in the spring of 2016 entitled Moving Forward Safer Futures: An Inclusive Dialogue Among Police, Policy Makers and Canada's Aboriginal Peoples. Much of the impetus for the conference came from the continuing work of the CACP's Policing with First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples Committee (PWFNMIP). This large and hard-working committee reflects a truly national scope of interests and perspectives and has significant aboriginal representation at all of its meetings. The committee contributed a great deal to the concept and design behind the Moving Forward conference, and they assisted the organizers by identifying and opening channels to potential speakers and panelists. A great deal of credit must also go to CACP Past President, Saskatoon Chief of Police Clive Weighill, who was in many ways the inspiration behind the event, and who also came to be a defining figure within it. Chief Weighill said during the event, "Until root causes of violence are properly addressed (poverty, poor housing, disadvantage, etc.), Indigenous people will continue to be vulnerable and disproportionately represented in Canada's justice system. Overall, we cannot lose focus on that. Getting tough on crime won't fix the challenges before us. We need to get tough on poverty, homelessness, racism and disadvantage." It was this same sentiment that had led Chief Weighill to encourage his CACP Board colleagues to embrace the urgency and timing for the conference, and to set a clear expectation that this would indeed be an inclusive, respectful and productive dialogue. By late May 2016, over 180 delegates came together to participate. With thanks to the sponsorship of MNP Manitoba, and with logistical support from the Winnipeg Police Service and the RCMP's D Division, the two-day event was also punctuated by an evening at the Human Rights Museum of Canada, a fitting opportunity to extend the conversations beyond the conference room, very much on theme with many of the discussions that shaped the main event. It was my privilege and honour to serve as the Chair of the conference planning committee and as Lead Moderator for the event. I've played both roles several times before at other events, but I don't recall ever feeling as much responsibility as I did before and during this one. There was an awful lot at stake for everyone concerned. The three stated goals of the conference set a high bar, and they established some delicate mutual expectations that simply had to be met. These goals now provide a useful framework for commenting on both the proceedings and the outcomes of this milestone gathering. Goal #1: Achieve a more collective understanding of the historical, recent and current circumstances that continue to place a disproportionate number of Canada's indigenous peoples amid multiple and composite risk factors that severely jeopardize individual, family and community safety and well-being. An Inclusive Dialogue with Indigenous Canadians: Moving Forward from Winnipeg By Norm Taylor

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