'It's very frustrating, and it's scary': Kanesatake grand chief calling for better security from the SQ
Some Indigenous communities in Quebec that are patrolled by provincial police say the established system does not fully meet security needs and needs improvement.
Constable Kyle Zachary has served his community as a Kahnawake Peacekeeper for 15 years.
Like almost every peacekeeper in the Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) community on Montreal's South, Zachary was born and raised in Kahnawake.
"The safety of our community takes a priority. It's important to us, you know, it's not just the job, which could be the case and other police services," he said. "There's definitely a deeper connection with a peacekeeper to the community than there would I think there would be for an SQ officer anywhere else."
Kahnawake peacekeeper Constable Kyle Zachary. (CTV News/Daniel Rowe)
In Quebec, 23 Indigenous communities have their own police services. Eleven are patrolled by the Surete du Quebec.
One of those is Kanesatake, Kahnawake's sister Kanien'kehá:ka community about an hour northwest of Montreal.
Mohawk Council grand chief Victor Bonspille is one of those Indigenous leaders who does not think the established system works.
"It's very difficult, it's very frustrating, and it's scary because we can't rely on the Surete du Quebec, SQ, even though they were put here to patrol Kanesatake in the aftermath of the Oka Crisis, but they don't," he said.
Kanesatake established a Perimeter Security Unit that works with the SQ, which has improved some situations.
For major crimes and traffic, however, the SQ has jurisdiction and Bonspille said they take far too long to respond to calls and they leave very quickly.
"The SQ station is six kilometres away from us, right where we are from the band office, and for some instances, it takes them three or four hours to respond. Why?" he said.
He said the growing number of cannabis stores has attracted increased traffic and crime from outside the community, and it has become unsafe.
When CTV News was leaving Kanesatake, multiple men charged at the news truck, and one ran across the main highway and punched a hole in the rear window.
A group of men in Kanestake charged at a CTV News Montreal van and broke a window on Jan. 17, 2023. (CTV News/Daniel Rowe)
"I've told them, it's the Wild West here, it's ridiculous. With all these outsiders coming here for the cannabis and other activities going on here, we need patrolling, we need security," said Bonspille.
The SQ told CTV News that the force is concerned with "developing preventive and partnership approaches, a need clearly expressed by the Indigenous clientele it serves."
The SQ said it is facing a shortage of manpower, like many police forces, which does cause difficulty in patrols.
"The Sûreté du Québec is particularly concerned with training its personnel to the particularities of the Indigenous clientele," SQ spokesperson Ann Mathieu said. "Civilian and police members benefit from a comprehensive training program on Indigenous issues that allows all members to contribute to the efforts to achieve cultural security and autonomy required by this clientele."
Former head of the First Nations Chiefs of police association Dwayne Zacharie, said many Indigenous communities in Canada feel the same way as Kanesatake does about outside police forces.
"For the vast majority, and as you're hearing a lot now, it doesn't work for them... In some instances, some First Nations communities don't want the RCMP, the OPP or the SQ providing services in their community," he said.
The reason is rooted in history.
"There was a time when police services were used to take children away to force them into residential schools, there's a trauma associated with that, and there's a mistrust, and some of those services haven't done a good job of trying to rebuild that trust at all."
The Viens commission and a recent Quebec Court of Appeals case highlighted serious issues Indigenous communities in Quebec have had with police in the past, such as the RCMP and SQ mass slaughter of sled dogs in Nunavik in the late 1950s and the alleged multiple sexual assaults in Val d'Or which led to the commission.
"There is no doubt that this is a fundamental fact of the present case, which explains the need, indeed the urgency, for First Nations to establish and manage their own police forces and which the respondents [Quebec] cannot ignore when they commit themselves to assisting First Nations," reads Court of Appeals Justice Marie-France Bich's Dec. 15 decision in favour of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan community.
The Kahnawake Peacekeepers station. (CTV News/Daniel Rowe)
The Quebec Ministry of Public Safety told CTV News in an email that the force continues to work with the Assembly of First Nations Quebec Labrador (AFNQL) and the First Nations and Inuit Police Directors Association of Quebec (ADPPNIQ) to "achieve the shared objectives of sustainability, resiliency and strengthening of Aboriginal Police Services (APS).
The ministry is currently conducting a review of Indigenous police services in their communities to see what can be improved.
In Kanestake and Kahnawake, many residents have vivid memories of the summer of 1990, when SQ officers stormed protesters in the Pines, sparking the Oka Crisis.
"It left deep scars. We're still healing from that. Our community and people who were involved, families and young kids who were just five, six years old at the time who are now adults, they remember. That's how much it was embedded in their memory and in their minds that day," said Bonspille.
Montreal Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Military under fire as thousands of troops face lost cost-of-living allowance
The Canadian Armed Forces is under fire for its plan to cut thousands of troops off a cost-of-living allowance without much notice.
Twitter: Parts of source code leaked online
Some parts of Twitter's source code -- the fundamental computer code on which the social network runs -- were leaked online, the social media company said in a legal filing on Sunday.
Court hearing for Prince Harry and Elton John's privacy case against U.K. publisher
The first hearing in a lawsuit brought by Prince Harry, singer Elton John and other high profile figures against the publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper over alleged phone-tapping and other breaches of privacy, is due to begin on Monday.
South Korea says North Korea test-fired another missile
South Korea's military says it detected North Korea firing at least one ballistic missile toward the sea off its eastern coast, adding to a recent flurry in weapons tests as the United States steps up its military exercises with the South to counter the North's growing threat.
Netanyahu fires defence minister for urging halt to overhaul
Tens of thousands of Israelis poured into the streets of cities across the country on Sunday night in a spontaneous outburst of anger after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly fired his defence minister for challenging the Israeli leader's judicial overhaul plan.
Is 'David' porn? See for yourself, Italians ask Florida parents
The Florence museum housing Michelangelo's Renaissance masterpiece the 'David' invited parents and students from a Florida charter school to visit after complaints about a lesson featuring the statue forced the principal to resign.
Singh 'not satisfied' with confidence-and-supply agreement
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he's 'not satisfied' with his party's confidence-and-supply agreement with the Liberals — signed a year ago this week — because it's shown him he could do a better job running the country than the current government.
Ancient Egypt excavation uncovers 2,000 mummified ram heads at Abydos
At least 2,000 mummified ram heads dating from the Ptolemaic period and a palatial Old Kingdom structure have been uncovered at the temple of Ramses II in the ancient city of Abydos in southern Egypt, antiquities officials said on Saturday.
Ukraine demands emergency UN meeting over Putin nuclear plan
Ukraine's government on Sunday called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to 'counter the Kremlin's nuclear blackmail' after Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed plans to station tactical atomic weapons in Belarus. One Ukrainian official said that Russia 'took Belarus as a nuclear hostage.'
Teen dead after 'unprovoked' stabbing at Toronto subway station
Police have identified a teenager who died after being stabbed in an ‘unprovoked’ attack at a Toronto subway station Saturday night, and have charged an adult male suspect with his murder.
Ontario woman's lost wedding dress found by thrift store volunteer after 'long shot' search
After making a 'long shot' plea to the public this weekend, a woman in southern Ontario has found her lost wedding dress, mistakenly donated by her father earlier this year.
Nearly 40 TTC routes changed today. Here’s what you need to know:
TTC riders may have to wait a bit longer for a bus, streetcar or subway starting Sunday.
Messy mix of snow, ice pellets and rain Sunday into Monday
A low-pressure system moving up the coastline of Maine will cross Nova Scotia Sunday into early Monday morning, bringing a mix of snow, ice pellets and rain.
Emergency alert issued for woman with handgun in Indian Brook, N.S.: RCMP
RCMP in Nova Scotia have issued an emergency alert to warn the public of what they call “a dangerous female with a handgun” in Indian Brook.
HMCS Montreal departs Halifax for Indo-Pacific operation
A Royal Canadian Navy frigate departed Halifax today as part of the federal government's wider strategy of boosting its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
London police investigating 'suspicious death'
NEW I Police in London, Ont. have launched an investigation following the discovery of a deceased man in the south end of the city on Saturday afternoon.
2 dogs rescued, tenants briefly displaced after early morning apartment fire
Residents of a central London, Ont. apartment were temporarily displaced from their units and were kept warm inside a city bus after a fire broke out early Sunday morning.
London Knights' coach sees milestone victory
Saturday night was a milestone victory for London Knights' Coach Dale Hunter. The Knights' 6-3 win over the Windsor Spitfires was Hunter’s 900th career win as an Ontario Hockey League coach.
Northern resources, the highlight of Ontario’s budget
Continuing to put the region's critical mineral supply in the spotlight, northern Ontario and its critical mineral deposits are front and centre in the provincial government's 2023 budget.
Risk of a hard landing for Canadian economy is up, former Bank of Canada governor says
Former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz says Canada’s economy is at a greater risk of a 'hard landing' — a rapid economic slowdown following a period of growth and approaching a recession.
Hwy. 17 partially closed north of the Sault due to a commercial motor vehicle crash
A crash involving a commercial vehicle north of the Sault has completely closed Highway 17 from Highway 101 East in Wawa, Ont. to Frater Road before noon Sunday, the eastbound lane reopened around 7p.m.
Big final weekend for amateur boxers, sledge hockey players in Calgary
The Calgary Scorpions sledge hockey team were victorious in their gold medal match against Team BC at the Western Canadian Sledge Hockey Tournament with a 4-0 win at Winsport Sunday.
Calgary's Buffalo Wild Wings locations shut their doors
Right in the middle of March Madness, Buffalo Wild Wings shuttered its doors Sunday.
KLM flight en route to Calgary following detour back to Amsterdam due to unruly passenger
A KLM flight bound for Calgary was delayed Sunday morning when an unruly passenger forced the airline to return to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
Man charged with attempted murder in Cambridge
A 49-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder and assault with a weapon in connection to injuries suffered by a 50-year-old woman in Cambridge.
'I’ve really had to adjust': How one small Waterloo region business is fighting inflation and fear of a recession
Worries of a recession in 2023 got another jolt this weekend with former Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz warning the country’s economy is at a greater risk of a “hard landing” – a rapid economic slowdown following a period of growth and approaching a recession. For small businesses, it's a prediction that brings concern.
Top snowmobilers compete in Kitchener
Winter may be over, but there was still snow on the ground for hundreds of highflying snowmobilers at Chicopee Ski Resort this weekend.
Nanny who was fired after cancer diagnosis awarded $45K in B.C. discrimination case
A temporary foreign worker from the Philippines who was fired from her job as a caregiver after a cancer diagnosis has been awarded over $45,000 by the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
Downtown Eastside crash sends 3 pedestrians to hospital
Three people were hospitalized after being hit by a car in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Saturday evening, according to authorities.
2 seriously injured in 'targeted' Chilliwack shooting: RCMP
Two people were found with "multiple gunshot wounds" in Chilliwack Saturday, after a shooting police say may have been gang-related.
Fire damages storage building where non-profit that helps homeless Edmontonians stores its supplies
A fire damaged a storage building on 104 Street early Saturday morning. Water Warriors – a charity that hands out water, food and clothing – is worried its supplies were damaged.
What you need to know about the regimental funeral Monday
The procession is scheduled to leave the Alberta Legislature grounds toward Rogers Place at approximately 11:45 a.m.
Two-time organ recipient designs Green Shirt Day logo years after Humboldt bus crash
April 7 is Green Shirt Day, which also marks the anniversary of Logan Boulet's death. Boulet, who was involved in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash five years ago, signed up to be an organ donor just weeks before the crash. Today, Green Shirt Day is meant to promote organ donor awareness and registration across Canada.
Vehicle catches fire on E.C. Row in Windsor
Emergency responders attended the scene of a vehicle fire in Windsor, Ont. Sunday afternoon.
Christopoulos misses out on 50-goal milestone, Spitfires look ahead to playoffs
It was a bittersweet moment for the Windsor Spitfires on Saturday as the team looks ahead to the playoffs, but forward Alex Christopoulos fell short in his objective to reach 50 goals in a single OHL season.
A man who police say violated his bail condition found with dagger
A man has been arrested by Chatham-Kent police for allegedly violating his bail.
Sask. village loses arena in late night 'inferno'
The Village of Liberty is grieving the loss of its rink after it fell victim to a late night 'inferno' over the weekend.
'Be prepared to slow down': Construction on Highway 6 bridge in Regina set to begin
Construction efforts are expected to begin on the south section of Regina's Ring Road.
'Play with Your Food': Board game charitable event overachieves in raising money for Carmichael Outreach
Everyone loves a good board game night with friends. However, for a group of enthusiasts in Regina, it's become so much more.
One person dead after fire in Hull apartment that lacked working smoke alarms
Gatineau firefighters are reminding residents about the importance of smoke detectors after a fatal fire in the Hull sector early Sunday morning.
Here's a look at eight things that will cost more in Ottawa starting April 1
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at eight things that will cost you more in Ottawa starting April 1.
Talks continue ahead of strike deadline for education workers at Carleton University
The union representing contract instructors and graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants is threatening to go on strike Monday if a deal is not reached with Carleton University.
Saskatoon Blades face Pats in opening round of WHL playoffs
The Saskatoon Blades' last two home games of the season have been against the Regina Pats, and with top NHL prospect Connor Bedard drawing big crowds wherever he's playing, almost 30,000 fans have come through the turnstiles at Sasktel Centre.
Get ready to see e-scooters all over Saskatoon
Up to 500 shared e-scooters could be available for rent in the city beginning in the spring, with the city currently finalizing rules for the service.
Suspicious death under investigation: Saskatoon police
Saskatoon police are investigating a suspicious death.