The Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) is speaking out about the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission Report on the Colten Boushie investigation.
The investigation found RCMP officers discriminated against Boushie’s family in the how they conducted themselves during the investigation and how they treated his mother, Debbie Baptiste, when they informed her he had been killed.
In a release put out earlier this week the tribal council, which represents 12 First Nations, said the system failed Boushie and his family. The PAGC as well joined the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in calling for the establishment of an independent police oversight committee.
Speaking to MBC News, PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte said they felt it was important to show their support.
“We’re standing in solidarity with the Boushie family in this difficult time again, you know with the release of the report, the findings, standing in solidarity also with the FSIN in the recommendations that were put out,” he said.
The grand chief said he is optimistic about the possibility of reforming the RCMP so it better serves First Nations people and communities. But he added in order for the force to reform there has to be the political will to do so.
“It has to be the government, the minister himself of public safety and also the prime minister to be able to do that reform, but it also requires the leadership to stand together in solidarity to make those reforms,” he said.
Hardlotte explained the idea of First Nations self administered policing also needs to be looked at. He said this could involve First Nations having their own police services or see tribal councils providing the service. The grand chief added other reforms are also needed in the justice system overall. He said the tribal council also stands behind Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron and his calls for the RCMP officers who mistreated Baptiste to be terminated.
On the issue of having stronger civilian oversight of the RCMP, Hardlotte said this is something which is important and added the PAGC is in agreement with the AFN on the issue of establishing an oversight body.
“When the police are policing themselves, you know what the outcome’s going to be,” he said.
(MBC News File Photo: PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte)