NDP MP calls on Trudeau government to appoint royal commission on racism in policing

Matthew Green says RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki ‘said the quiet part out loud’ when denying Alberta convoy blockade was treated with ‘kid gloves’

An NDP member of Parliament says it is time for a royal commission into Canadian policing.

“High fives, handshakes and hugs,” Hamilton MP Matthew Green told Nation to Nation, describing the RCMP’s treatment of the freedom convoy protest this past winter in Coutts, Alta. “Juxtapose that to the way Indigenous land defenders are continuously brutalized.”

Green’s comments come on the heels of a House of Commons committee meeting on the Liberal government’s use of the Emergencies Act to deal with the freedom convoy.

Green peppered RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki for answers on why Mounties appeared to treat convoy protesters with kid gloves but was unable to get substantive answers.

“There were many legal protesters at the Coutts protest,” Lucki told Green. “Our members who police there are part of the community. They shop in those stores. They’re neighbours to those people.”

“So the protesters look like the police?” Green interjected. “They’re from the same communities? They identify with the people in the community?”

He pressed the commissioner on her comment, asking if she would acknowledge a different state of policing exists for Indigenous land defenders and those who blockaded the border at Coutts, but she wouldn’t budge.

“No,” Lucki said. “Not at all.”

The committee met only one day after the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) released a report that finds the RCMP is rife with racism, sexism and violence against women.

Green said the committee meeting, FAFIA and other reports all point back to the plain truth that the RCMP has a double standard when it comes to treatment of racialized minorities.

“All these reports, report on the disproportionate way in which the RCMP treat First Nations, Métis and Inuit of these lands and other racialized people in Canada versus the way they treat people within the ‘communities that they live and work with’.”

The NDP MP said at the end of the day, the RCMP reports to the prime minister and his Liberal government, and if the force continues to be immovable on these issues, Ottawa needs to appoint a royal commission on policing to get answers.

Also on N2N, the grand chief of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake near Montreal says a proposed Quebec language law will be nothing short of “cultural genocide.”

The architects of the Coalition Avenir Québec’s Bill 96 argue it will strengthen the French language within the province. But Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer said if passed, this will be done at the expense of traditional Indigenous language rights and this is why First Nations leaders are asking for an exemption to the legislation.

“As Indigenous people, we are already subject to speaking a foreign language,” the grand chief said, “that being English. That was imposed on us through the residential school and Indian day school system. So we view this as now another paternalistic bill that will force French language on our students.”

Sky-Deer says the community is also concerned about how the legislation could negatively impact First Nations businesses and elders seeking health care.

And finally, a 49-year-old Cree woman from Saskatchewan told N2N about the lifelong pain being forced to have a surgical sterilization has caused her and other Indigenous women like her.

Sylvia Tuckanow is now part of a class-action lawsuit that is seeking to have those involved in forced sterilization procedures held legally responsible.

“Accountability, that’s the big thing and criminalization so this doesn’t happen again,” she said. “We need to protect our future generations.”

Tuckanow was also part of a group of witnesses that spoke recently to a Senate committee on the topic of forced sterilization.

Watch all three interviews above.

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