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More RCMP officers deployed in Nova Scotia to keep peace in lobster fishery: Blair

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says more RCMP officers have been deployed to respond to the escalating treaty dispute between commercial fishers and Mi’kmaq fishers in southwest Nova Scotia.

Speaking in an Ottawa news conference with three other ministers, Blair says Nova Scotia RCMP are now able to draw on RCMP resources from neighbouring provinces within the Atlantic bubble. 

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the acts of violence that targeted Mi’kmaq fishers in the past days and weeks are disgusting, unacceptable and racist, and that Indigenous people have been let down by the police who are sworn to protect them.

Blair says there is a need for significant reform to how police work in Indigenous communities.

Non-Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia take issue with the Mi’kmaq people fishing outside the federally determined fishing season, but the ministers say a treaty right for the Mik’maq to fish for a moderate living is constitutionally protected.

The RCMP is investigating several assaults that targeted Indigenous people and properties including an attack of Chief Michael Sack. The accused was arrested and released from custody with conditions to have no further contact with the chief. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2020.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press

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