Addressing the overrepresentation of Red River Métis people in the justice system in Manitoba

WINNIPEG, MB, Oct. 11, 2022 /CNW/ – Advancing reconciliation requires supporting culturally appropriate, Indigenous-led and community-based justice services, and building policies informed by the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples. These are key to achieving systemic change in our justice system.

Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Kevin Lamoureux, Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North, and Julyda Lagimodiere, Minister of Justice for the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), announced significant investments to help address the overrepresentation of Red River Métis in the justice system in Manitoba.

The MMF’s Métis Justice Institute develops and maintains a wide range of justice services and programs to meet the needs and expectations of the Red River Métis. Through these programs and services, the Métis Justice Institute seeks to:

  • reduce the number of Red River Métis people involved in the criminal justice system
  • prevent and reduce crime, as well as enhance the safety and well-being of Red River Métis individuals and community
  • strengthen Red River Métis families and the community to promote a strong Nation
  • support the grassroots where justice measures are developed and delivered by and for the Red River Métis community, and
  • ensure that justice measures are culturally appropriate, relevant and incorporate Red River Métis values, traditions and culture

Justice Canada is providing over $1.68 million over 5 years through the Indigenous Justice Program to MMF to support the continued delivery of community-based justice programs and their work to address the overrepresentation of Red River Métis people in the justice system. This investment will support the following programs and initiatives:

  • Métis Community Justice Program: $469,227 over five years
  • Thompson Community Justice Program: $483,377 over five years
  • Métis Mediation Services: $230,000 over three years to support this new program
  • “Métis Identity within the Justice System”: $255,645 over two years to support this project, which aims to develop Red River Métis distinctions-based education and training resources for justice professionals and address systemic racism against Red River Métis people in the justice system
  • Red River Métis Justice Strategy: $250,000 over three years to support the development of a strategy that will inform the development of an overall Indigenous Justice Strategy aimed at addressing systemic discrimination and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the Canadian justice system

Addressing the systemic factors that contribute to the overrepresentation of Indigenous people, as well as systemic racism in the justice system is part of the Government of Canada’s commitments outlined in the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People. Today’s announcement also supports Canada’s efforts to advance reconciliation in Canada and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action.

Quotes

“Red River Métis led, culturally-appropriate programs and services can play a vital role in reducing the overrepresentation of our Citizens in the justice system and addressing systemic racism. The MMF, the National Government of the Red River Métis, has a demonstrated track record of success when we take the lead in creating and implementing programming. Our culture requires us to take a holistic approach to justice that considers and addresses the impacts on family and community. Today’s announcement will help us advance this important work.”

Julyda Lagimodiere
Minister of Justice, Manitoba Métis Federation

“Indigenous people are alarmingly overrepresented in Canada’s justice system. By providing support for Indigenous justice services and support for Indigenous-led engagement on the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy, we are helping bring systemic change to address this unacceptable reality. These investments will support our efforts to address systemic discrimination against Indigenous peoples, and improve access to justice and fairness in our justice system.”

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Quick Facts
  • The MMF was established in 1967 and is the democratically elected National Government of the Red River Métis. Since its establishment, the MMF has been dedicated to improving the lives of the Red River Métis people by enhancing autonomy and encouraging the development of programs and services that meet the unique rights and needs of Red River Métis. The MMF delivers programs and services, including in the sectors of child and family services, justice, housing, youth, education, human resources, economic development, and natural resources.
  • The Indigenous Justice Program (IJP) supports Indigenous community-based justice programs that offer alternatives to mainstream justice processes in appropriate circumstances. The program’s objectives are:
    • to assist Indigenous people in assuming greater responsibility for the administration of justice in their communities;
    • to reflect and include Indigenous values within the justice system; and,
    • to contribute to a decrease in the rate of victimization, crime and incarceration among Indigenous people in communities with community-based justice programs funded by the IJP.

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SOURCE Department of Justice Canada

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