A national Indigenous organization is speaking up about Bill C-22.
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) said they were optimistic when they first heard about the legislation, which seeks to end mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug related offences.
However, CAP’s National Vice Chief Kim Beaudin explained after looking into the details he sees some issues.
One specific problem he pointed to is that police will have discretion when it comes to whether to lay charges as it relates to possession. The national vice chief said given the current reality he doesn’t see this working out.
“We’re dealing with systemic racism, racial profiling in this country and if we’re going to leave it up to front line police to address that issue, whether they want to charge people for possession of illicit drugs, I don’t think that’s really going to work,” he said.
Another issue which Beaudin sees with the legislation is there are not resources being allocated to help with treatment of addictions. He added the issue of addiction is a public health one and should be treated as such.
“The real issue is addictions and healing and that’s the frustration of the whole federal colonial process we have set up right now,” he said.
Beaudin said his organization was not consulted about the legislation, nor is he aware of what organizations were asked for input. He explained CAP will be working to bring their concerns forward.
“We do certainly have opportunities to change this (legislation),” he said.