Suicide In Police Car Raises Alarm Bells

Charlie Angus is raising alarm bells about the third world policing conditions face by northern First Nations after the apparent suicide of a young woman in Kasabonika First Nation who was being held in the back seat of a police car because the local police station had no heat.

 

Angus says this death is just the latest in a series of horror stories facing the under-funded Nishnawbe Aski Police (NAPs) service.

 

“We have police officers working with no back-up and sleeping in places where you wouldn’t let a dog sleep. We have prisoners being held in the back seats of cars or in makeshift jails where they face risk of either fire or freezing,” said Angus. “The NAPS officers are being forced to work in conditions that no other police unit in Canada would accept. Why the double standard?”

 

NAPs is funded 52% by the federal government and 48% by the Province of Ontario. The Federal government has refused to come to the table to discuss addressing the funding shortfalls. Last October, Angus wrote to Justice Minister Vic Toews asking for a plan to address the chronic under-funding. Toews has yet to answer.

 

“The Conservatives talk loudly about being tough on crime and providing safe communities. Yet they are leaving northern citizens and First Nation police to put up with third world conditions. This situation is unacceptable.”

 

In 2006, two young men burned to death in a makeshift jail cell in Kashechewan First Nation. A coroner’s inquiry came forward with 86 recommendations to address the situation faced by NAPs police. So far, the government has ignored many of the key recommendations.