Provincial cops proceed to disregard appeals to take away a symbolic pink band from their uniforms which Indigenous witnesses have instructed two separate inquiries into their therapy they understand as “intimidation and provocation.”
Officers in Val-d’Or, in northwestern Quebec, began carrying the bands two years in the past, after eight colleagues had been suspended following a Radio-Canada investigation into the mistreatment of Indigenous girls.
Cops connected the bands, inscribed with “144” — the variety of the Val-d’Or detachment — to the highest of their Sûreté du Québec vests, simply above their identify tags.
Michèle Audette, an Innu commissioner on the inquiry into murdered and lacking Indigenous girls and women (MMIWG), instructed CBC Information that Sûreté du Québec officers are “spreading division” by carrying the bands.
The previous president of Quebec Native Ladies, who grew up in Schefferville and has a house in Uashat-Maliotenam, mentioned persevering with to put on the bands is inappropriate and does nothing to encourage Indigenous girls to believe in police.
“They do not wish to name 911, or they do not wish to get entangled with the police as a result of the belief shouldn’t be there anymore,” mentioned Audette. “[Either] it is by no means been there, or it is damaged.”
Almost three months in the past, at MMIWG hearings in Regina on June 28, Audette instructed SQ Capt. Paul Charbonneau, who’s in command of self-discipline and authorized companies within the provincial police service, that the carrying of the pink bands was not serving to to advertise reconciliation and that he ought to converse to his superiors about banning them.
Provincial choose additionally deplores bands
Justice Jacques Viens, the retired choose presiding over Quebec’s separate inquiry into the therapy of Indigenous folks, raised the identical situation at hearings in Quebec Metropolis final week.
“I’ve hoped that in some unspecified time in the future this follow could be deserted,” mentioned Viens.
He mentioned witnesses have instructed him the bands are perceived as intimidation and provocation, particularly when officers put on them whereas visiting First Nations communities.
Viens was responding to a remark by David Coderre, the lawyer representing the provincial police union on the provincial inquiry.
Questioning the present president of Quebec Native Ladies, Coderre mentioned the pink band was “by no means created to help the alleged therapy of Indigenous girls, however to contest the executive measures in opposition to these officers.”
‘Any individual needs to be placing their foot down’
The Sûreté du Québec has declined to be interviewed in regards to the follow whereas the 2 inquiries proceed their work.
“One thing needs to be completed about it,” mentioned Ghislain Picard, the Quebec regional chief of the Meeting of First Nations, when requested in regards to the bands by CBC Information.
“It’s totally offensive. It is actually provocation.”
Picard mentioned he plans to boost the difficulty with the provincial safety minister as quickly as the subsequent authorities is in place.
Picard mentioned he is been instructed the bands are the “initiative of some people,” however he finds it “absurd” that the provincial police union and high brass at Sûreté du Québec have not stepped in.
“These officers are accountable to somebody, and anyone needs to be placing their foot down,” mentioned Picard.