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Public Safety Cooperation Protocol Between the Assembly of First Nations and Royal Canadian Mounted Police

PREAMBLE

WHEREAS Aboriginal and Treaty Rights are specifically enshrined in section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 and the Supreme Court of Canada has provided guidance for the recognition and affirmation of those rights;

WHEREAS the enhancement of public safety in Canada must include Aboriginal peoples;

WHEREAS the history of the relationship between the ABORIGINAL PEOPLES OF CANADA and the ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE, though sometimes adversarial, reflects mutual assistance and respect;

WHEREAS the future of Our Children, Youth, Women, Men and Elders requires safe, secure and stable communities;

AND FURTHER , the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) desire to develop a framework which will develop strategies for addressing community safety problems in communities.

Therefore the Parties agree as follows:

1.0 PURPOSE OF THE PROTOCOL

The purpose of this Protocol is to establish trusting and reciprocal relationships among the Parties with the goal of either preventing situations involving conflict situations, alternatively, resolving disputes which do develop at the earliest possible opportunity.

This will be achieved by subscribing to the following principles:

1.1 the enhancement of public, community, and police officers safety;

1.2 the acknowledgement, and understanding of each organization, roles and accountability;

1.3 the participation in a crisis management process on a voluntary basis;

1.4 to establish ongoing communications by exchanging information between the Parties so as to strengthen local, regional, national policing, agencies, and organizations;

1.5 to ensure that both Parties possess timely and accurate information; and

1.6 the establishment of a Joint AFN/RCMP Crisis Response Team as needed.

2.0 THE ROLE OF THE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

2.1 The role of the Assembly of First Nations will be to strengthen the shared partnership at a national, regional, and local, level of ongoing communication with the RCMP, in particular:

  1. to identify, at a local, regional, and national level, point persons to liaise with the RCMP, where appropriate, in an effort to avert or help resolve conflict in First Nation communities;
    1. to identify situations that could lead to crisis;
    2. to provide information and suggestions to the RCMP, where appropriate, on conflict prevention, crisis management and resolution; and
    3. to assist in the identification of mutually beneficial solutions for consideration by all involved, where appropriate.
  2. to establish an internal Working Group comprised of AFN representatives and First Nation community members to facilitate crisis management and communication in the event of conflict.
  3. where appropriate, and subject to applicable laws, regulations, policies and operational requirements, provide information and suggestions on how to prevent conflict from occurring in First Nations communities.

2.2 The AFN will contribute to the development of culturally appropriate training conducted by the RCMP to its members.

2.3 In any particular situation, the Assembly of First Nations participation under this Protocol will be invoked only at the request of the First Nation Government.

2.4 For greater certainty, it is expressly acknowledged that the Assembly of First Nations’ has no role in a conflict situation, if the First Nation Government does not consent to the Assembly of First Nations’ participation.

3.0 THE ROLE OF THE RCMP

3.1 The role of the RCMP will be to strengthen the shared partnership at a national, regional, divisional, and local level of ongoing communication with the AFN, in particular:

  1. identify at the relevant national, regional, divisional and local level point persons for the AFN in relation to this Protocol; and
  2. where the R.C.M.P.’s duties require involvement in a First Nation community, the R.C.M.P. will, where appropriate, and subject to applicable laws, regulations, policies and operational requirements, endeavor to liaise with the AFN in order to seek their assistance in averting or resolving the conflict.

3.2 Where appropriate, the RCMP participation under this Protocol will be invoked only at the request of the affected police force of jurisdiction.

3.3 The RCMP will involve AFN in the development of culturally appropriate training for its members and will undertake to make this Protocol known to all its members.

4.0 GENERAL PROVISIONS

4.1. The effectiveness of the Protocol is dependent on the intentions and best efforts of the Parties to prevent threats to community safety, and security and to resolve crisis situations.

4.2. This Protocol shall not be used by a party in the interpretation of any other agreement.

4.3. The Parties agree to work together throughout the duration of this Protocol in a respectful, professional and co-operative manner.

4.4. The Parties, subject to any applicable federal and provincial legislation, including access to information and privacy legislation may share information, observations and reports that relate to the maintenance of social order, personal safety and public security.

4.5. This Protocol is a statement of intent and does not create legally binding obligations on either Party. This Protocol does not define, create, recognize, deny or amend any of the rights or authorities of the Parties.

4.6. This Protocol is without prejudice to any legal positions which has been or may be taken by either Party, and should not be construed as admissions of fact or liability in any proceeding or process.

4.7. Where a dispute arises between the Parties respecting the interpretation, application, implementation or operation of this Protocol, the Parties will attempt to resolve the dispute by consensus through representatives of the AFN or R.C.M.P.

5.0 DURATION

5.1 This Protocol shall take effect from the date that it is signed by the Parties and shall remain in effect for two years, unless terminated in accordance with section 5.3.

5.2 This Protocol may be amended by written agreement of the Parties.

5.3 Either party may terminate their involvement in this Protocol by providing (10) days written notice to the other Party.

5.4 One year from when the Protocol takes effect, the Parties will review the effectiveness of the Protocol and identify opportunities to improve the Protocol.

6.0 OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVES FOR CRISIS SITUATION

Prevention for Personal Harm/Community Safety

6.1 Identify situations that could lead to crisis.

6.2 Exchange information and advice on how to prevent crisis from occurring.

6.3 Enhance understanding among the Parties of their respective roles and responsibilities in a crisis situation.

Management

6.4 Identify mutually beneficial solutions for consideration by the Parties and their Principals.

6.5 Provide advice and timely recommendations to senior officials or political leaders that is based on the best information available.

6.6 Provide timely responses to the other Parties when developing options to address a crisis.

Intervention

6.7 Conduct a debriefing with affected Parties, during or after a crisis, to determine solutions and effective ways of addressing the situation or a similar situation in the future.

6.8 Develop a joint training program that enables the Parties to acquire skills and knowledge to address lessons learned from past incidents, as well as, to manage crisis more effectively.

7.0 OPERATIONAL ARRANGEMENTS

7.1 The Parties will appoint a Joint National Advisory Council to provide advice and guidance to the National Chief and the Commissioner of the RCMP.

7.2 In accordance with the Joint AFN/RCMP Crisis Response Team, the Parties will establish and maintain a network of contact/resource people who are able to act promptly when a crisis arises.

7.3 The Parties will develop such tools as will effectively address issues related to public and community safety such as:

  1. the development of collaborative and working relationships;
  2. the development of training tools such as orientation manuals and workshops including Aboriginal culture, practices and traditions;
  3. the sharing of lessons learned/best practices of dispute resolutions; and
  4. the integration of alternative justice protocols and processes.

7.4 The Parties will develop pre and post standards, protocols for ongoing communication.

7.5 The Parties will enhance communications between First Nation Government, local, regional and national community policing agencies and organizations to strengthen shared partnerships.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF THE PARTIES HAVE SIGNED THIS PROTOCOL THIS _ __ DAY OF __________________, 2004 IN THE PROVINCE OF SASKATCHEWAN.

ON BEHALF OF THE AFN

_________________
National Chief Fontaine

ON BEHALF OF HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA

_________________
RCMP Commissioner, Zaccardelli

May 18, 2004