NAN Grand Chief 'confident' talks with government will help settle police labour strife
Alvin Fiddler says he believes officers' issues 'will be squarely addressed and resolved respectfully'
The Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation says he's "confident" a meeting with government representatives prior to slated police labour talks will resolve a number of issues.
In a statement from NAN's annual summer chiefs meeting, Alvin Fiddler said a tripartite meeting with the provincial and federal governments is scheduled before conciliated talks between the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service and the union representing its officers and civilian staff on August 24.
"I am confident that this [tripartite] meeting will set the parties up to resolve their issues at the conciliation meeting," Fiddler was quoted as saying in his statement. "While I cannot go into details at this stage, I am confident that our officers' issues will be squarely addressed and resolved respectfully."
NAPS officers and staff voted strongly in favour of strike action in an ongoing contract dispute with the police service in July.
Changes to federal First Nations policing program needed
First Nations police officers don't have the same resources as their non-Indigenous colleagues, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde told CBC News on his way to NAN's meeting on Tuesday.
"That's what has to change, there's a review going on now about the [First Nations Policing Program], and this program, it should be statutory and obligatory and not at the discretion of anyone."
In 2014, the Auditor General slammed the program, noting that in some provinces, like Ontario, it doesn't ensure that policing in First Nations meets the same standards as in non-Indigenous communities, including the buildings out of which officers operate.
A review is necessary, Bellegarde added, "to ensure that those necessary financial resources are put in place so a long-term sustainable predictable program can be set."