BC NDP spends more than twice as much on C-IRG police unit than on MMIWG programs

Nov 29, 2023 | 42-4, Blog, Governance, Legislature, Question Period, Video

The BC NDP provided $19 million dollars to fund Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls while spending $50 million on a special RCMP unit called the Community-Industry Response Group that has violently arrested Indigenous land defenders.


A. Olsen:

We’ve seen this Minister of Public Safety’s response to protecting the Premier’s pipelines. He stood up a special unit called the community-industry response group. C-IRG, it’s known as to police and Indigenous people. It has a gold commander. It was a temporary unit, but now it’s got some permanent members.

We’ve seen the videos of this unit violently arrest my relatives. One of my friends and relatives, she was tackled to the ground. Another relative of mine, drum in hand, walking on a public road, far, far away from potential tree cutting, also tackled by a group of RCMP police linebackers.

Can the minister let this House know how much he’s spent and you know, round numbers are fine. Is it $30 million, $40 million or $50 million on his special gold commander to harass, tackle and arrest Indigenous people in their own territory?

Hon. M. Farnworth: I appreciate the question from the member. The member knows, because he has asked this question before, that the C-IRG, as he refers to it, is set up and is based to deal with the challenges that have been brought forward in terms of the enforcement around the injunctions that have been put in place by the court.

The money that was budgeted — I think it’s around $23 million — was based on an average that has been spent over the last three years. It is there to anticipate the expense that’s going to be required to deal with the court injunctions that have been in place or that have been granted by the courts and the responsibility for police to do the enforcement of those court injunctions.

[10:40 a.m.]

The amount of money that will be spent will be dependent on the amount of activity that they have to deal with.

Mr. Speaker:

Member, supplemental.

A. Olsen:

The reconciliation path that we’re walking is an attempt to escape our colonial history, but apparently, this B.C. NDP government just can’t let it go.

We know that the Minister of Public Safety has actually spent $50 million on a special unit led by a gold commander with a militarized emergency response team, community liaisons. He’s got the courts, injunctions, judges.

However, when it comes to missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and boys and our children, that’s where the NDP actually show where they really stand, because that money — as paltry as it is — is buried under bureaucratic paperwork. No gold commander. No special investigators. No team of special prosecutors. They just want Indigenous people to join them in their pipe ceremony and make them celebrate it as progressive. Meanwhile, the missing and murdered Indigenous babies, well, we’re on our own for that. Abandoned.

When will the Minister of Public Safety spend as much lifting our people up as he is spending pushing them down?

Hon. M. Farnworth:

I’ll say this to the member. Every member in this House takes missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls very seriously. That’s why we’ve made initiatives. That’s why we are on the path of reconciliation. It’s not just about ceremonial and territorial acknowledgments. It’s about real actions.


Mr. Speaker:

Member. Member, please.

Hon. M. Farnworth:

The member knows that there are a number of different actions that have been taken. The member knows that the court system are the ones who give injunctions and say that those injunctions need to be enforced, and that’s the police’s responsibility.

At the same time, police do investigate. We expect them to investigate cases of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.


Mr. Speaker:

Member. Member, let the minister complete his answer please.

A. Olsen:

I can tell the hon. member — because we had that meeting yesterday — that my ministry indicated they were going to look at some of the things that we discussed in terms of how they could be implemented. We also made it very clear, as did the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, initiatives in his ministry in terms of funding would be available.

To somehow suggest that we don’t care, or that we’re not interested, or they’re not doing anything is just wrong, and the member knows that.


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