AMC Concerned by Lack of Consultation on Manitoba’s Plan for Provincial Bail System Reform; Cites UNDRIP Violations

March 5, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) is disappointed in the provincial government’s neglect of its duty to consult with First Nations Leadership in formulating a plan for provincial bail system reform. The plan, announced by Premier Kinew and Minister Wiebe on February 29, 2024, outlines a five-point strategy to enhance community safety. However, the absence of insights and expertise from First Nations Leadership is concerning and constitutes a blatant violation of certain provisions within the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

“I am profoundly disappointed by the lack of inclusion of AMC-member First Nations or the AMC itself in the development of this plan,” said AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “The well-documented overrepresentation of First Nations in the criminal justice system underscores the urgency of involving First Nations Leadership in shaping reforms. Any changes to the provincial bail system will undeniably have disproportionate impacts on First Nations compared to other demographics across the province.”

The AMC asserts that the proposed plan lacks a rehabilitative focus and inadequately allocates resources to address the underlying causes of crime. Furthermore, the failure to engage AMC member First Nations and the AMC itself in the development of the plan, along with any subsequent actions to advance it, stands in direct contravention of provisions 15(2) and 19 of the UNDRIP, further eroding the relationship between First Nations and the provincial government.

“While Premier Kinew acknowledges the heightened risk of re-offending among individuals on bail without proper support, the plan fails to communicate Manitoba’s strategy to confront systemic issues such as environmental racism, institutionalized discrimination, addiction, and systems involvement,” continued Grand Chief Merrick. “The AMC advocates for a proactive, rehabilitation-focused strategy that allocates substantial resources to address the root causes of crime while ensuring the equitable treatment of First Nations. As the unified voice representing 62 First Nations in Manitoba, the AMC is well-positioned to work with the provincial government on these issues.”

The AMC emphasizes that genuine progress can only be attained through meaningful consultation and collaboration between all levels of government and First Nations Leadership, highlighting that solutions for justice system issues cannot be found within the same systems that perpetuate these inequities.

The AMC urges the provincial government to engage in collaborative consultation with First Nations Leadership on all issues pertaining to First Nations rights and well-being. Together, we will develop strategies to effectively confront the deep-rooted systemic challenges within the justice system.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 172,000 First Nations citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anisininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.