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David Lametti

Ottawa allocates $1.5 million to help tackle justice system discrimination against Métis people

Thursday, January 12, 2023 @ 4:21 PM | By Cristin Schmitz

Federal Justice Minister David Lametti  and Cassidy Caron, the president of the Métis National Council, announced that $1.5 million in federal funding will go to “support Métis-led engagement that will inform the development of an Indigenous Justice Strategy to address systemic discrimination and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Canada’s justice system.”

Lametti said Jan. 12 that the money from the federal Indigenous Justice Program will be disbursed over three years to the Métis National Council, the Métis Nation of Ontario, the Métis Nation of Alberta, the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, the Métis Nation of British Columbia and Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak.

“This investment will support our efforts to address systemic discrimination against Indigenous peoples, and improve access to justice and fairness in our criminal justice system,” Lametti said in a Department of Justice press release. 

Justice Minister David Lametti

Justice Minister David Lametti

Caron described the overrepresentation of Métis people in the justice system as “a serious and complex issue rooted in systemic racism and the legacy of colonialism.”

The federal Indigenous Justice Strategy “is an important part of a larger effort to ensure our self-determination and the dignity, survival and well-being of the Métis Nation,” Caron said in a statement. “Today’s announcement confirms that our unique Métis experiences, perspectives, and systems will drive both the development of the strategy and the transformational reform of the criminal justice system needed to address the overrepresentation of Métis people and systemic discrimination in the Canadian justice system.”

The $1.5 million to support Métis-led engagement is part of the 2021 federal budget’s allocation of $11 million, over three years, to help engage with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and organizations in developing legislation and initiatives that address systemic barriers in the justice system, including collaboration on an Indigenous Justice Strategy.

The federal government said that developing such a strategy has the potential to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s “Calls to Action” and to the “Calls for Justice” from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls which advocate for federal measures to improve Indigenous persons’ access to justice, and address systemic racism and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system.

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