Recent events surrounding the incarceration of an Inuk protester are the latest evidence to that the province’s justice system is not working for all the province residents, says NDP Justice Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre). She says government must undertake a review of how the provincial justice system interacts with indigenous people.
Rogers has written to Justice Minister Andrew Parsons requesting that he consult with Indigenous governments and communities to review the Newfoundland and Labrador justice system.
“The protests we see in Labrador these past several months are undoubtedly a result of how both the previous and current governments and our own Crown Corporation Nalcor have not adequately addressed specific issues raised by the Environmental Assessment Panel and by the people living in the area of Muskrat Falls,” Rogers says in her letter.
The NDP Justice Critic notes the problems are not unique to this province, and that Indigenous people are “overrepresented in custody,” according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She says Parsons has the opportunity to take a leadership role by examining the situation in this province.
“There are overriding justice principles and processes that must be reviewed to more justly address the issues of protest and civil disobedience in our province and culturally appropriate approaches to justice systems by Indigenous peoples,” she says in the letter.
“I also ask that you ensure the well-being of Beatrice Hunter and ensure she is afforded all rights and privileges to which she is entitled while in detainment, while also exploring and finding alternatives to removing her so far from her community.”