OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a change in culture is needed within Canadian police forces to ensure indigenous people are treated the same as everyone else.
Trudeau told a CBC forum Sunday night that a "pervasive culture" in police forces, governments and religious communities has led to indigenous people being less valued.
He said that culture must be changed and he predicted the push for change will come from the Canadian people.
The CBC event involved Trudeau taking questions from a number of people — picked by the public broadcaster — who queried the prime minister on topics including the economy, terrorism and relations with aboriginal people.
He spoke about the plight of indigenous people in response to questions from a woman whose aunt went missing in Vancouver and whose cousin went missing in Kamloops, B.C.
The questions included how police have handled investigations into missing and murdered aboriginal women.
Trudeau said "indigenous lives matter" and he promised major changes will be made in Canada's relationship with indigenous people.
He said some of those changes will take years, and in some case decades, but he vowed that life will get better for aboriginal people.
Trudeau said the first order of business will be to fulfil his promise of an inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women that will hear from everybody involved, especially the victims' families.
The Canadian Press