Harvey Yesno, Keith Hobbs at odds over violence issue

The leader of Nishnawbe Aski Nation says he is disappointed with what he calls 'incorrect' and 'inflammatory' statements made by Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs.

The Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation is upset with remarks by Thunder Bay's mayor

Nishnawbe Aski Nation says it is disappointed with what it calls "incorrect" and "inflammatory" statements made by Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs.

Commenting on violence in the city, the mayor has criticized NAN for not participating in the Thunder Bay Crime Prevention Council.

NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno says he will communicate his concerns about the Mayor's comments to city council. (CBC)

NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno  disputes what he calls the mayor's insinuation that NAN is unwilling to address violence among aboriginal people. Yesno says he will present his concerns to city council.  

"I will be officially sending a letter to the city, because the mayor represents the city, expressing in greater detail concerns about this issue," Yesno told CBC News in an interview Wednesday.

For his part, Hobbs said he has purposely called NAN out on the violence issue.

Mayor Keith Hobbs wants NAN to join the Crime Prevention Council.

The Mayor said NAN has turned down several invitations to join the crime prevention council, and that this has forced his hand. "Maybe public embarrassment, as I'm at my wits' end trying to get them to the party. All party members have to be on the same page and they have to be on the table if we are to resolve this issue," Hobbs told CBC.

The controversy erupted in the wake of the city's most recent homicide last weekend, the fifth in Thunder Bay this year. Thunder Bay police have charged three people with second-degree murder.

In a statement, NAN said it "is concerned for the safety and security of all residents, regardless of ethnicity. Where possible, we have worked with the city and other organizations to address these issues and are proud to support the outstanding work that First Nation police services are doing in cooperation with Thunder Bay police."

Hobbs said the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service is represented on the crime prevention council but NAN is "a powerful lobby group political wing," and needs to be part of the council too.

He called the work the council is doing in the community "phenomenal."