Bill 38 would fully recognize First Nations police forces

Leader staff

The Alberta government has tabled a bill that would (if it passes) fully recognize First Nations police services under the Police Act. The amendment includes the right to issue tickets for First Nations’ bylaws.

In an Oct. 21 news release, Alberta’s Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu says, “with this legislation, the Government of Alberta acknowledges the valuable role First Nations policing plays in keeping their communities safe. These changes will ensure First Nations police services and the communities they serve can benefit from our efforts to modernize policing in Alberta.”

First Nations police forces have operated in Alberta for two decades. One of them, the Lakeshore Regional Police Service, based in Driftpile, was established in 2008, says its website. It polices the five First Nations which make up the Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council. It has a chief of police, two inspectors, two sergeants, eight constables, two clerical staff and a civilian crime prevention coordinator.

LSLIRC is made up of Sawridge, Swan River, Driftpile, Sucker Creek and Kapawe’no First Nations. Kapawe’no is on the north shore of Lesser Slave Lake, and the other four are on the south.

No comments from any of the LSLIRC members was included in the news release, but Chief Roy Whitney Onespot of the Tsuut’ina First Nation was quoted.

“The Tsuut’ina Nation Police Service has operated since 2004 and meets all provincial policing standards and duties,” he says. “I commend the minister and his government colleagues for fully recognizing the Tsuut’ina and all First Nation police agencies in the amended Police Act.”

Quick facts
Additional changes as part of the Justices Statutes Amendment Act include the following:

Amendments to the Police Act would also change the census data source that the government uses as part of calculating policing costs for municipalities of more than 5,000 people. This ensures the government uses the same source for all census data throughout all departments.

Changes to the Queen’s Counsel Act would also reduce red tape by automatically revoking a Queen’s Counsel designation if a lawyer is disbarred or resigns in the face of discipline and is deemed to have been disbarred.

As well, to be considered for a QC designation, a lawyer would now have to practice for at least 10 years in a Commonwealth jurisdiction with at least five of those years in Alberta.

Amendments to the Provincial Offences Procedures Act would also allow tickets for more types of offences to be served by mail, freeing up time for law enforcement.

Changes to the Victims Restitution and Compensation Payment Act would help reduce red tape by getting rid of never-used portions of the act, and reflect supports to victims now being provided through the Restitution Recovery Program.

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