THUNDER BAY “SHAMELESS”

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(THUNDER BAY, ON) – Falconers LLP made the following news releases regarding Thunder Bay and the situations that are unfolding, have unfolded, and are in the midst of unfolding.

Falconers LLP is the law firm that is spearheading the push for the OIPRD investigation into the death of Stacy DeBungee. The long-awaited results of the OIPRD’s completed investigation keep seeming to be delayed over and over.

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Below is the unedited version of the Falconers LLP news releases.

“The Human Rights Commission said that there is no leadership at the top on this Indigenous stuff that’s going on and I just went ballistic. I could write a book on what we’ve tried to accomplish and what we are accomplishing. So, for Human Rights to say there’s a lack of leadership, THEY CAN KISS MY ASS.”

These were former Mayor Keith Hobbs’ comments in response to the Human Rights Commission’s statement that civic leadership in Thunder Bay had not done enough to take on anti-Indigenous racism.

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“Traditional Canadian Dance”

The Inquest brought national attention to Thunder Bay and finally shone the light on the Thunder Police and others who were ignoring their duties. CANADALAND asked the question: “But, what did this change?”

Falconer himself is not sure. “I will say this about Thunder Bay, for all the different examples of tragedies and misconduct by police leading to deaths or serious injury.

When it’s exposed, there is a traditional dance in Canada, that starts with denial, the media pressure increases, the facts become irrefutable and somebody loses their job and somebody apologizes and the regular Canadian dance apology happens, it’s almost like musical chairs, somebody’s left standing and loses their job and that is expected as part of the Canadian protocol of we did wrong.

Thunder Bay is utterly immune to that level of shame. I have never seen anything like it. I can tell you there are countless examples of representation of the 7-Youth Inquest that have exposed absolute egregious examples of racism and terrible neglect of Indigenous People.

It emboldens them. It actually emboldens the bad actors. There are virtually no consequences.

The Chief of Police decided it was time to retire *chuckles* with all of his benefits after all of the egregious examples, on his timing. He was not in any way censured. There are no consequences for these people, there is no sense of shame.”

It Takes a Village to Raise a Racist Police Service: Julian Falconer Presents at the Ontario Trial Lawyers Conference in Toronto

The Indigenous population in Thunder Bay Ontario has long been over-criminalized and under-protected. Local media outlets have consistently painted a skewed picture of the realities in Thunder Bay and continue to foster and shelter a racist police service.

Julian presented on the journey of holding a police service accountable in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

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From the circumstances which lead to the Seven Youth Inquest in 2015, to the Thunder Bay Police Service’s (TBPS) failure to investigate the death of Stacy DeBungee, to the subsequent Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) investigations into the failings of the TBPS and the TBPS Board respectively, the legacy of systemic racism in Thunder Bay policing is as lengthy as it is concerning.

As these events unfolded, Chief of TBPS, Sylvie Hauth, continually refused to acknowledge the reality of systemic racism in Thunder Bay and instead has reassured the public that there is no crisis in Thunder Bay and it is “business as usual” for the TBPS. Even more recently, in a Chronicle Journal newspaper article, Hauth has cited “legal issues like the Stacy DeBungee investigation and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission’s Review” as causes for the TBPS Board being over budget. The fact that Chief Hauth considers these to be “budget” issues is only further evidence of the TBPS’ denial of the systemic issues that plague the service.

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Recently, retired Justice Lee Ferrier ordered that a hearing to determine whether TBPS officers will face disciplinary proceedings was to proceed behind closed doors and be kept secret from the public. CBC, supported by the family of Stacy DeBungee and Rainy River First Nations, successfully sought an injunction to have the hearing stayed until Mr. Ferrier’s decision is judicially reviewed this December.

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The injunction application was heard and granted by Justice Pierce. In sharp contrast to Chief Hauth, Justice Pierce understands the significance of addressing the concerns of racist policing in Thunder Bay and further, the significance of having those concerns addressed in a public way.

In Justice Pierce’s detailed ruling, she states, “Because of the complaint underlying this process – that policing practices related to Indigenous citizens in Thunder Bay are racist it is even more critical that every step in the complaint procedure be dealt with transparently.”

Further, at paragraph 49 she states: “Failing to proceed openly will only sow distrust in the complaints procedure. It will do nothing to address the community’s question about whether Thunder Bay’s approach to policing indigenous matters is racist.”

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The efforts to have the Thunder Bay Police Service held accountable, and held accountable in the open, continue.

Superior Court Justice Helen Pierce issued an order halting plans for an in camera hearing on whether the charges against Thunder Bay police officers arising of the death of Stacy DeBungee should go forward.

In a 68 paragraph, 12 paged detailed ruling, Justice Pierce acknowledged a compelling public interest arising out of the allegedly racist conduct of Thunder Bay police officers investigating the death of Stacy DeBungee.


Court Ruling:

Canadian-Broadcasting-Corporation-v.-Thunder-Bay-Police-Services-Board-DC-18-018-JR-Decision-on-Motion-5872

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10 Replies to “THUNDER BAY “SHAMELESS””

    1. You’re exactly correct. It will sway his way of thinking. On a second note, Hobbs, if you’re out there listening/reading, “I firmly believe you were the best Mayor we EVER had. What you did for us was fantastic.
      Said no one ever. 👎
      YOU sir, can kiss MY ass.

  1. I’m concerned that everyone involved didn’t just step up and say sorry we didn’t do our job. Instead we see the guilty taking time off and now retiring. I see them protected and their silence only makes it worse. There are many other incidents where racism is evident in this city. We welcome the immigrants and give them jobs housing nd education where the indigenous people continue to struggle to be part of something here. If I’m wrong oh well call me another stupid indigenous woman. Life is not easy for me Ive worked harder than most people to break my barriers. Peace.

    1. If it makes you feel any better, we do not actually welcome immigrants, either. They come here for school and can’t get part time jobs while they train, and then once they graduate as locally trained professionals our community refuses to hire them, so they either leave or beg for jobs not in their field, even though the field jobs do exist. It’s disgusting.

    2. Eli, back your statement up with facts!!!!!! You’re delusional to say the least.
      Any company that’s hiring in this city is asking and hiring the minority first before Caucasian. I’m ok with that. However, if the situation were reversed and the hiring company preferred Caucasian over minority’s, there would be a shit storm of protests. That’s what’s wrong with today’s society. The small squeaky gear has bitched and complained so much, people that don’t live in the real world start to believe there IS a problem.
      Show me evidence of just ONE minority that was denied a job due to ethnicity! You can’t. So get off the striped coloured unicorn you’re riding and look at the real world.

  2. WOW what a great article on what is really happening to the native peoples in Thunder Bay. We need to hear more about their struggles and injustices on social and news media. we need more comprehensive investigative work to be done by the police in an unbiased manner.

  3. The multigenerational legacy of the Residential Schools and government paternalism is such a big part for the problems of poverty and additions facing so many Indiginous people from e northern settlements. After thousands of years of co-existing with the natural world and 300 years as servants to the fur industry they were cast adrift with no alternatives and now live in communities too large for the traditional land to sustain them in their traditional culture or that of the now gone fur industry so they subsist on government handouts or drift aimlessly in large urban centres where they are victimized and have no resources to improve themselves.. Alcoholism and drug addiction offers an escape from the real world and that leads to crime and hopelessness.. With everyones help this can be reversed but it will take compassion and money over several generations. Will we be up to the task? Most immigrants such as the East Asian we commonly see working and going to our schools are from middle class urban cultures so they mesh almost seamlessly into our white culture as they have for centuries. Our Indiginous populations were isolated from white culture in vast remote forests where they has very little exposure to urban life.

    1. Great post Laura !
      The remote reserve industry makes some people rich while the populace suffers.
      Hopefully a great leader will eventually design a working solution. Putting new detached houses , a shopping mall and an amusement park in the middle of the bush still doesn’t fool the kids. They just want to be like the kids they see every day on the internet.

  4. Loops, I worked in James Bay and Hudson’s Bay communities a long time ago and saw some of the old traditional ways and also the results of the Residential Schools so I hope that I do “get it”. Keeping people locked away in isolation on remote reserves and throwing money at them in the form of white contracting companies is a big industry that many do not want to see end. Sadly it’s the people who are hurt most are the ones being blamed for government waste. The solutions are complex and I am not smart enough to know what they are but “love thy neighbour as thyself” might be a good place to start.

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