AMC is Disappointed in the Lack of Consultation Regarding Funds for Youth Justice Services in Manitoba

April 18, 2023

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) issues the following statement in response to Federal Justice Minister David Lametti announcing $49.8 million for the province of Manitoba to go towards helping keep youth out of the justice system.

AMC and Grand Chief Cathy Merrick demand that the Federal Government invest the funding made available directly to First Nations that will ensure the following: timely access to services regardless of a client’s residence; the provision of community justice workers in each First Nation; strong family and community engagement; land-based culturally affirming ceremonies and activities; and enhanced training and professional development for on-site staff.

It is well documented that one of the primary impacts of colonialism is First Nations youth in Manitoba represent youth custody statistics at disproportionately higher rates than their non-First Nations counterparts. Due to the number of structural barriers and systemic racism our young people face, resources must be made accessible to First Nations directly, as provincially funded programs have historically been more burdensome to apply for and work in partnership with.

“I am curious to know why the Federal Government is divvying up funding via the provincial government when, as First Nations, it is our right to access these and other program funds from the Federal Government,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “To add another middleman does nothing more than convolute an already burdensome process for accessing the preventative and responsive resources needed by First Nations to ensure just processes for their own youth who are exposed to the justice system.”

This allocation of funding to the Federal Government through provincial channels is concerning as Manitoba has among the worst records of the provinces for disproportionately incarcerating Indigenous peoples. An Indigenous person in Manitoba is more than 13 times as likely as a non-Indigenous resident to be imprisoned. In the AMC Alternative Federal Budget, we have outlined in specific detail what is required for First Nations in Manitoba to manage restorative Justice Programs.

“We have made it very clear that colonial systems do not work for First Nations and that to honour the commitments of Reconciliation made by Federal Treaty partners,” said Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “We must be included in vital conversations, especially at the decision-making government tables, such as those to do with Youth Justice Services funding.”

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 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) people.