National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations says he looks forward to learning more about how Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki plan to address systemic racism in the national police force.
Last Friday, Mr. Bellegarde said he had “lost confidence” in Commissioner Lucki after months of unrest and urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to replace her with “someone who will focus their attention on public safety and combatting racism.”
The call for her resignation came as the RCMP has faced heavy criticism for its response to violence toward a disputed Mi’kmaq moderate livelihood lobster fishery in Nova Scotia.
Mr. Bellegarde now says that he had a brief conversation with Mr. Blair on Monday, but he has not had “formal communications” with the federal government or the RCMP on the issue.
Pressed in the House of Commons Wednesday to explain how he still has confidence in Commissioner Lucki, Mr. Trudeau said the RCMP has not always treated racialized and Indigenous people fairly.
He said he looked forward to working with the commissioner to bring forward “meaningful change” to ensure the police treat all people with dignity and respect.
Mary-Liz Power, a spokeswoman for Mr. Blair, says Public Safety Canada is aware of Mr. Bellegarde’s request.
She says the department will work with him to achieve progress and that police services need listen and learn from the perspectives of Indigenous people.
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