Jagmeet Singh calls for ‘systemic change’ for policing during Vancouver Island visit

From left to right: Judith Sayers (Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council president), Jagmeet Singh, Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni MP), Moses Marin (Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor) and Mariah Charleson (Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council vice president) speak to the media at the Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel on Sunday, Aug. 16. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)From left to right: Judith Sayers (Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council president), Jagmeet Singh, Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni MP), Moses Marin (Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor) and Mariah Charleson (Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council vice president) speak to the media at the Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel on Sunday, Aug. 16. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to the media on Sunday, Aug. 16. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to the media on Sunday, Aug. 16. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Ed Ross, from Tseshaht First Nation, speaks to Jagmeet Singh during his visit to the Alberni Valley on Sunday, Aug. 16. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Ed Ross, from Tseshaht First Nation, speaks to Jagmeet Singh during his visit to the Alberni Valley on Sunday, Aug. 16. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Tseshaht First Nation elected chief councillor Cynthia Dick presents several gifts to Jagmeet Singh during his visit to the Alberni Valley on Sunday, Aug. 16. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Tseshaht First Nation elected chief councillor Cynthia Dick presents several gifts to Jagmeet Singh during his visit to the Alberni Valley on Sunday, Aug. 16. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Jagmeet Singh takes a photo with Chantel Moore’s friends and family and local Indigenous leaders outside of the Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel on Sunday, Aug. 16. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Jagmeet Singh takes a photo with Chantel Moore’s friends and family and local Indigenous leaders outside of the Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel on Sunday, Aug. 16. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Jagmeet Singh and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns watch and listen as members of Tseshaht First Nation perform a prayer song. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)Jagmeet Singh and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns watch and listen as members of Tseshaht First Nation perform a prayer song. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

The leader of the federal New Democratic Party is calling for a systemic change for policing after meeting with the family of a young Indigenous woman who was shot and killed by police.

On Sunday, Aug. 16, Jagmeet Singh travelled to Port Alberni, B.C. on Vancouver Island, to meet with a number of Indigenous leaders. At the Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel, Singh and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns also took time to meet with the family of Chantel Moore.

Moore, a Tla-o-qui-aht woman who used to live in Port Alberni, died in June after she was shot by police during a wellness check in Edmundston, N.B. Moore had recently moved to the small town to be closer to her six-year-old daughter and her mother.

A statement from the Edmundston Police Force says Moore was holding a knife and making threats, but friends and family members have questioned the use of force in her death.

READ MORE: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

READ MORE: Shooting victim Chantel Moore remembered as ‘the sweetest soul’

“When violence is perpetrated against Indigenous people, it is dehumanizing the value of Indigenous lives,” said Singh on Sunday. “Today, I really want to highlight that the killing of Chantel Moore was the killing of a daughter. This was the killing of a granddaughter. Chantel was a mom and her daughter asks about her every day. I think it’s so important for us to remember the human value and worth of Indigenous people.”

Singh has committed to Moore’s family that he will continue to fight for an independent investigation into her death, but he also says that a systemic change is needed.

“There is no imaginable explanation to, in any way, ever justify why a wellness check would result in the death of somebody,” said Singh. “We’ve seen health-care and mental health checks result in deaths as well, so there needs to be a systemic change in policing. If someone needs a wellness check, we need to look at health-care workers responding. We need to look at other responses so that people are never put in danger and their lives are never taken.”

Moore’s mother, Martha Martin, attended the meeting on Sunday by video conference. Last week, the family filed official complaints with the New Brunswick Police Commission against two police officers.

“The sad thing about that is there are no Indigenous people on that complaints commision,” said Dr. Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and a spokesperson for Moore’s family. “How much trust can we have in those kinds of institutions?”

Both Singh and Sayers emphasized on Sunday that Indigenous people need to be involved in investigations when it comes to Indigenous victims of police violence.

“People right now don’t believe that there is justice,” said Singh. “That someone can take someone’s life and then can continue to work in the same police force—that’s painful. That makes people feel scared, feel unsafe.”

Singh is also calling for an end to racial profiling in policing.

“There is clearly evidence of systemic racism in policing,” he said. “We know Indigenous people are stopped disproportionately, they’re arrested disproportionately. Often these stops are based on no evidence.”

The province of British Columbia has promised to take a look at updating the province’s Police Act, but Sayers said on Sunday that she wants to see an “immediate” change.

READ MORE: B.C. to review Police Act amid growing calls to defund police

“That takes too long,” she said. “These are things that can be remedied immediately—changing wellness checks to having trauma-informed teams instead of police. We’re demanding that there be a response by the government to address those things immediately, because they can.”

Later on Sunday, Singh also took time to meet with members of Tseshaht First Nation on their reserve, discussing everything from police brutality to COVID-19 response. His last scheduled stop in Port Alberni was a meeting with Cliff Atleo, chair of the Council of Ha’wiih (Nuu-chah-nulth Hereditary Chiefs) to discuss fishing rights.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Jagmeet SinghPolicePORT ALBERNIracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

It costs as little as $7 to charge an EV at home. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Electric Vehicles a rare sight (in the Kootenays), but change on the way

Electric pickups will increase the appeal of zero-emission vehicles in years to come according to Blair Qualey of the New Car Dealers Association

Linda Krawczyk and her dad Doug Finney enjoyed a ride around beautiful Fernie on Friday thanks to Melanie Wrigglesworth and the local chapter of Cycling Without Age. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Cycling Without Age goes for its first spin

Doug Finney (86) got to enjoy a ride around Fernie

The Cranbrook Community Forest is good to go for mountain biking. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Snow’s done, time to hit the trails

South Country trails are good to go

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read