Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.
For immediate release
June 22, 2023
MKO Applauds Senate Private Members’ Bills
to Recognize, Respect, Enforce and Prosecute First Nation Laws
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – The Grand Chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Inc. (MKO) today applauded and supported the introduction by Senator MaryJane McCallum of two Private Member’s Bills that will provide certainty for the recognition, enforcement and prosecution of First Nation Laws and By-laws. These Senate Private Member’s Bills propose amendments to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Director of Public Prosecutions Act. “These important amendments to the RCMP Act and the Director of Public Prosecutions Act proposed by Senator McCallum are essential for First Nations to effectively apply First Nation laws to protect health and public safety in First Nation communities,” said Settee.
“First Nation by-laws enacted pursuant to the Indian Act have not been enforced or prosecuted for going on three decades in this province. Even though First Nation By-laws have the force and effect of a federal regulation our Land Code Laws enacted by First Nations have not been enforced or prosecuted in Manitoba since at least 1999”, he said.
“In May, 2021, Chief Heidi Cook of the Misipawistik Cree Nation at Grand Rapids, Manitoba told a House of Commons Standing Committee that the refusal of RCMP to enforce the Emergency Health Protection Laws of the Misipawistik Cree Nation left their pandemic emergency response team, their health team and their enforcement team feeling ‘abandoned’”, said Settee.
In MKO’s December 15, 2022 submission regarding the references in Bill C-32, the Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022 addressing the Framework Agreement on First Nation Land Management Act, MKO asked the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance to recommend amendments to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Director of Public Prosecutions Act to ensure the recognition, respect, enforcement, and prosecution of First Nation Land Code Laws.
The MKO submission regarding Bill C-32 was referenced in several submissions by Senators in the Senate Chambers and in a question in Committee by the sponsor of Bill C-32 in the Senate that was asked of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
“MKO looks forward to appearing before Standing Committees in the Senate and the House of Commons together with Chief Robert Louie, Chairman of the Lands Advisory Board, to support the speedy consideration and passage of these important Private Members’ Bills which have been initially proposed, developed and pursued by First Nations,” said Settee.
For more information:
Philip Paul-Martin, MKO Communications Officer
Email: [email protected]