Coun. Katherine Swampy in front of Maskwacis RCMP detachment. (Photo submitted)

Coun. Katherine Swampy in front of Maskwacis RCMP detachment. (Photo submitted)

Maskwacis chiefs are opposed to RAPID Response

Alberta Treaty 6 First Nations say they were not properly consulted

By Chevi Rabbit BLACK PRESS NEWS MEDIA

The Four Nations of Maskwacis are joining Treaty 6 Cree leaders in speaking out against the new controversial Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence (RAPID) Response.

According to the government website, “The launch of RAPID Response on April 1, 2021 puts 140 more peace officers on guard for rural Albertans when they need help from law enforcement.”

“I stand against the Alberta provincial policing services’ RAPID initiative. It did not properly consult Indigenous people. I was on several meetings with the Alberta Provincial Policing Services (APPS) for potentially creating a tribal police, however it felt like they manipulated the information shared at these meetings,” said Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation councillor.

“Although I support policing, it’s difficult for us to move forward with this position without being provided enough information.”

A press release by the Confederation of Treaty Six Nations states, “The Chiefs and I want to remind our citizens that we entered into a Peace and Friendship Treaty with the Crown. The province of Alberta did not exist until we made Treaty. It is completely unacceptable that our sovereign lands will be opened up to provincial officials.

“The Confederacy Chiefs learned that the province of Alberta does not respect our people or our territories by the imposition of RAPID. The province of Alberta needs to step back in the implementation of RAPID if the spirit of reconciliation is going to continue.

“The Confederacy wants to caution our citizens to remain calm as you might be stopped or confronted by these officials. The Chiefs have not authorized these officials to come on to treaty sovereign lands.”

“RAPID goes against the Crown’s obligations to honour our sovereignty as a Nation,” said Reggie Rabbit, Montana First Nation councillor.

“Rural Albertans told us loud and clear that it can take too long for help to arrive in their communities. With RAPID Response, highly trained and professional peace officers will work across rural Alberta to answer the call when police need help to save precious minutes in an emergency,” said Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

“RAPID Response addresses the very real issue of crime in rural Alberta by increasing boots on the ground and reducing response times to emergency situations. It is also the result of significant consultations, including Indigenous communities,” said Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations.

“Alberta’s government is committed to working with Indigenous communities to ensure we have their support. Over the last several weeks Minister Madu and I have been taking part in calls with leaders of First Nations and Metis settlements to listen to their feedback and address their important questions,” said Wilson.

“It is well-established that policing on reserve lands remains the responsibility of the federal government. The RCMP with the exception of those First Nations in Alberta that have their own police force. RAPID is not responsible for on-reserve policing, nor has it been suggested that they will be,” he said.

Swampy went on to explain the importance of consent.

“The concept of ongoing consent, and legal action against Indigenous people are essential in my decision making, therefore I cannot support APPS’ RAPID initiative,” said Swampy.

“On March 31, we were informed they are setting up fishing and wildlife officers to do traffic and other supports for provincial policing on April 1 — we were informed only a day before they made the changes,” she said.

“Indigenous people have been struggling with the fish and wildlife officers as they continue to infringe on our inherent, treaty, and cultural rights to fish and hunt. Therefore we have publicly stated that we do not support the APPS and RAPID initiative.

“I’m concerned that Alberta is already facing financial hardship and this will only further cost the province,” said Swampy.

“I’m curious as to why the Alberta government should pursue this change. I’m also concerned about Bill 1, which targets Indigenous people protesting against specific infrastructure. They would face six months in prison or twenty five thousand in fines.”

“I think Albertans are just sick of dealing with a government that’s out of touch with everyday people’s realities,” said Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) vice president Mike Dempsey in a press release.

“Instead of consulting with working people, Kenney and his crew bulldoze Albertans with their ideological agenda,” said Dempsey.

“Back in 2019, then-Minister of Justice Doug Schweitzer promised a pay raise to Fish and Wildlife officers and others in the RAPID plan for their additional, riskier duties.

“AUPE members received the appropriate training for the new role, which many were eager to fill, but the UCP didn’t fulfill its pay promise,” he said.

“Kenney treats working people like their cogs in his pet-project machine, but we’re here to remind him, we’re not UCP pawns. We’re the powerhouse of this province, and he must pay members fairly for the vital work they do. Albertans agree, and they’re standing in solidarity with their neighbours,” said Dempsey.

“We have a voice, and Albertans are pushing back with their own vision for a more vibrant province.”

Maskwacis

Just Posted

The owner of Mae’s Kitchen in Mirror, says hamlet residents were ‘disheartened’ by a recent anti-restriction protest. The restaurant is following all the health restrictions in place. (Photo courtesy Mae’s Kitchen Facebook)
‘We don’t need that’: Mirror restaurant against recent anti-restriction protest

Mae’s Kitchen is located less than two kilometres from The Whistle Stop

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

MP Damien Kurek receives his COVID-19 vaccination. (Photo submitted)
Local elected representatives get the jab

MP Damien Kurek and MLA Lovely get their COVID-19 vaccinations

(Historica Canada)
VIDEO: Heritage Minute marks 100th anniversary of work to discover insulin

Video centres on Leonard Thompson, 13, the first patient to receive successful injections for Type 1 diabetes

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

The historic Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne in southern Alberta is up for sale

The lights of several emergency vehicles could be seen near the Sunken Bridge on May 13. (Photo submitted)
Patient airlifted from Ponoka with serious injuries

RCMP, fire, STARS respond to single vehicle rollover May 13

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

Most Read