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

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

From left: Councillor Lucy Taylor, Councillor Barry Banford, Councillor Bill Haring, Mayor Merlin Blackwell, Councillor Lynne Frizzle, Councillor Lyle Mckenzie and Councillor Shelley Sim. (District of Clearwater photo)
Council to consider raising taxes in 2021

The District of Clearwater council is considering a tax increase this year… Continue reading

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

Most Read