March 26, 2021

Mi’gmaq Chiefs Denounce Unlawful Acts By RCMP And Province Of New Brunswick

The leadership of Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Incorporated (MTI) today denounced the unlawful acts of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Province of New Brunswick, who conducted an illegal raid on an authorized cannabis vendor at Eel River Bar First Nation. This raid was conducted without any notice to or authorization from Eel River Bar Chief and Council. The RCMP had, however, notified the media beforehand.

The Mi’gmaq are a self-governing nation with their own jurisdiction over the regulation of businesses, and community health and safety. In August 2020, The Mi’gmaq Chiefs passed a resolution authorizing each of their communities to regulate or prohibit the sale of cannabis in their communities.

“The Crown continues to demonstrate their unwillingness to work with First Nations, and their misguided belief that they know better than First Nations what is best for our communities.” Said Chief Sacha LaBillois of Eel River Bar First Nation Chief George Ginish of Natoaganeg First Nation, speaking on behalf of MTI, said the move represents another low in the deteriorating relationship between First Nations and the Crown in New Brunswick.

“The Mi’gmaq have already collectively taken the steps necessary to ensure the safe and lawful sale of cannabis in our communities. It is clear the Province is simply trying to protect their own illegal monopoly over the sale of cannabis in our territory.” stated Chief Ginnish.

The Higgs government recently reallocated much needed funding from the mental health strategy to RCMP drug enforcement, in another failed attempt to deal with issues of mental health and addiction through the criminal justice system.

“The RCMP have already caused sufficient suffering in our communities. We do not need their assistance to enforce our community laws, and we certainly do not need these continued unjustified and unlawful attacks on our sovereignty.” Said Chief Bill Ward of Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq Nation.

The Mi’gmaq Chiefs will be collectively discussing next steps, which could include a ban on Provincial government officials and RCMP entering their communities without permission.