Statement from the Wolastoqey Chiefs on the death of Chantel Moore (June 12, 2020)

We said earlier this week that the provincial government was tone-deaf and condescending in its comments. We hoped that this tone would cause them to choose their words more carefully. We were wrong.

We are shocked that on the day of Chantel Moore’s funeral, Premier Higgs did not offer a condolence. Instead, he stood before reporters and said that a viable alternative that tragic night would have been for police to shoot her in the leg.

This is not only incredibly insensitive to the memory of Chantel Moore and to her family and friends. This is also a cruel comment to the Indigenous people all over New Brunswick and Canada who have experienced biased and unfair treatment from police and from our justice system.

Mr. Higgs’ own Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Jake Stewart has said he is shocked and saddened to have seen systemic racism in the provincial government. Minister Stewart supports a review to help root out systematic bias in the justice system, why doesn’t Premier Higgs?

A narrow investigation into this one tragic incident should go forward. But it should not delay a more important review into the systemic problems that plague the entire system.

We need an independent review of the entire system and we need it now. The Premier should reflect on his words, which have caused great pain; and reflect on his Minister’s words, which have caused great
hope. He should do the right thing and approve of this review now.

Chief Ross Perley,
Neqotkuk (Tobique)

Chief Alan Polchies Jr.,
Sitansisk (St. Mary’s)

Chief Patricia Bernard,
Matawaskiye (Madawaska)

Chief Shelley Sabattis,
Welamukotuk (Oromocto)

Chief Gabriel Atwin,
Pilick (Kingsclear)

Chief Tim Paul,
Wotstak (Woodstock)

Media Contact: Gillian Paul, 506-461-1187, gillian.paul@wolastoqey.ca