Leadership Council welcomes appointment of Justice Davies to lead Frank Paul Inquiry

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2007



BC First Nations Leadership Council welcomes the appointment of Mr. Justice William H. Davies to lead inquiry into the death of Frank Paul

Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, BC - The B.C. Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs welcome today’s announcement by B.C. Solicitor General John Les, that Mr. Justice William H. Davies has been appointed to lead the public inquiry into the death of Frank Paul.

“We welcome the appointment of an eminent jurist, former B.C. Supreme Court Justice Davies to lead this important public inquiry into the tragic death of Frank Paul”, said Grand Chief Edward John, member of the First Nations Summit political executive and the First Nations Leadership Council.

“We expect to be fully involved in the development of the inquiry’s terms of reference as it is critical for us to ensure the family of Frank Paul and aboriginal people have the appropriate standing”, added Chief John.

“We are looking forward to working closely with Mr. Davies in our collective efforts to reconcile the relationship between First Nations and the justice system,” said Shawn Atleo, B.C. AFN Regional Chief and member of the First Nations Leadership Council. “We hope his work will finally provide closure to the family of Frank Paul, by providing them answers to questions they have been asking for almost ten years.”

“Many, many individuals, aboriginal organizations, and human rights groups marched and lobbied for a full public inquiry into the tragic death of Frank Paul. Therefore, we need to ensure the public inquiry is fully empowered to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the conduct of all police, corrections, and Provincial government officials involved in the Frank Paul tragedy,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and member of the First Nations Leadership Council.

Frank Joseph Paul, a Mi’kmaq man, died of hypothermia in December 1998 shortly after being released by the Vancouver police department into an east Vancouver alley.

The First Nations Leadership Council ultimately hopes the public inquiry will further help to provide closure for Mr. Paul’s family by answering the many questions that remain regarding the circumstances of his death. The inquiry provides an opportunity to determine recommendations on provincial policing practices involving, and relating to, First Nations and Aboriginal peoples, as well as reconciliation measures between First Nations and the Crown in the area of policing.

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The First Nations Leadership Council is comprised of the political executives of the First Nations Summit, Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the BC Assembly of First Nations. The Council works together to politically represent the interests of First Nations in British Columbia and develop strategies and actions to bring about significant and substantive changes to government policy that will benefit all First Nations in British Columbia.

For more information:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, UBCIC: (604) 684-0231
Colin Braker, First Nations Summit: (604) 926-9903
Heather Gillies, BC Assembly of First Nations: (604) 922-7733

UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.