THUNDER BAY - Following the release of a coroner's inquest report into the death of Daniel Legarde by an OPP officer, Ontario NDP MPPs Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay—Superior North), Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong), Critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations, Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto Centre), Critic for Attorney General and John Vanthof (Timiskaming—Cochrane), Critic for Solicitor General are pressing for urgent action from the Ford Conservatives to immediately implement the recommendations to prevent similar tragic incidents from occurring in the future.
"The verdict of death and the subsequent recommendations from the coroner's inquest highlights the pressing need for improved and specialized training within police forces," stated Vanthof. "The OPP must prioritize Indigenous-specific training for officers and focus on relationship building with local Indigenous peoples. This is a crucial step towards preventing similar tragedies from occurring again."
The coroner's inquest yielded 18 recommendations, 12 of which were explicitly directed to the Ontario Provincial Police. These recommendations include Indigenous-specific training, de-escalation techniques, communication improvement, and proper application of relevant laws. The Ontario NDP fully supports these recommendations and urges the provincial government to act immediately.
"Thunder Bay, with one of the highest rates of intimate partner violence in Canada, knows the urgency of this matter," said Vaugeois. "This inquest reinforces the need for comprehensive measures to combat domestic violence and ensure the safety of all Ontarians, particularly First Nations who face unique challenges. Updated anti-racism and cultural training need to be built over time with members of the police. As the report suggests, our officers need continual support to deepen their relationships with First Nations and combat intimate partner violence."
"The time for meaningful change is now," emphasized Mamakwa. "For far too long, First Nations have faced systemic challenges, and these incidents have historical roots that span centuries. It is unacceptable that such tragedies continue to unfold in today's day and age."
"We need to do better – the Legarde case underscores the urgency to quickly implement these recommendations to create a more just and accountable system that safeguards the rights of all Ontarians," said Wong-Tam. "It's unfortunate that the Legarde family had to endure such a prolonged wait for the inquest, but moving forward, we must ensure timely actions in the pursuit of justice."