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

The exterior of infamous Port Hardy apartment building Highland Manor. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
Draft rental standards bylaw a hot topic at District of Port Hardy meeting

Mayor Dennis Dugas wants the bylaw to pass so they can “protect the people.”

North Island Gazette file photo of Port McNeill council
Port McNeill council roundup: SD85, tourism and zoning discussed

More news from Port McNeill’s April 13 council meeting.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

The Port McNeill waterfront on a beautiful sunny day. (Bill McQuarrie photo)
Waterfront Playground Proposal receives backing from Port McNeill council

In favour of the motion were Wickstrom, Baron and Coun. Shelley Downey.

Quatse, the abandoned sea otter pup who was rescued in Port Hardy. (Marine Mammal Rescue Centre photo)
Quatse the sea otter pup continues to recover in treatment

Quatse’s last “pupdate” was on March 31, where it was noted she is “doing well and gaining weight.”

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read