Ontario First Nations say public safety minister won't discuss policing problems

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OTTAWA - The two largest First Nation police services in Ontario say Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney refuses to discuss the serious problems they face — shortcomings documented this week by the federal auditor general.

Representatives of the Nishnawbe-Aski and Anishinabek police services are accusing the federal government of chronic underfunding and underhanded negotiating tactics on policing agreements.

A report by auditor general Michael Ferguson says the federal First Nations policing program is hamstrung by poor allocation of money, shoddy buildings and lack of meaningful aboriginal involvement.

The program — created in 1991 to address concerns about policing in aboriginal communities —involves negotiation and funding of agreements between the federal government, provincial or territorial governments, and First Nations and Inuit settlements.

More than 400 First Nations communities across Canada receive services from one or more agreements funded by the program.

In visiting six fly-in communities in Ontario, auditors found officers living in overcrowded, mouldy houses and working in cramped or unfinished facilities.

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Organizations: Ontario First Nations

Geographic location: Ontario, OTTAWA, Canada

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