Aboriginal justice strategy deserves support not silence

New Democrats are calling on the Minister of Justice to commit to funding the Aboriginal Justice Strategy (AJS) to ensure that the vital work they do to combat crime in First Nations communities continues.

“The Aboriginal Justice Strategy has had a great track record in funding hundreds of justice programs ranging from prevention, to restorative justice to community safety,” said NDP Aboriginal Affairs critic Jean Crowder (Nanaimo-Cowichan). “Now that their funding has sunsetted all of these programs are now at risk and the Conservative government is not responding to calls asking if funding will continue.”

New Democrats are calling on the Minister of Justice to commit to funding the AJS for another five years so the momentum of reducing crime in these communities is not stopped.

Charlie Angus says the Correctional Investigator has stated that First Nation, Inuit and Métis offenders make up a larger proportion of the population in the corrections system and that unlike other Canadians, fewer get out on early parole or take part in rehabilitation programs.

“That’s why the community justice programs under the AJS were so vital – they helped reduce crime rates, allowed communities to use restorative justice principles to lessen the time offenders spent behind bars and promoted justice for victims of crime,” said Crowder. “What option will these communities have if this Strategy is lost?”