03/21/2013 01:22 EDT | Updated 05/21/2013 05:12 EDT

Toews open to discussing more money for aboriginal policing in northern Ontario

OTTAWA - The federal public safety minister says he's open to talking about more money for aboriginal policing in northern Ontario.

Vic Toews told a House of Commons committee there needs to be a discussion about ways to improve the federal First Nations policing program — which covers about half the cost of policing in aboriginal communities.

Toews says the federal program's recent renewal for five years provides an opportunity to see what's working and what needs to be done better.

New Democrat MP John Rafferty says many communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation in northern Ontario lack the money, staff and facilities for proper policing.

Rafferty wants Toews to meet police leaders from the organization, which represents 49 First Nations communities with about 45,000 residents.

Toews says he would entertain such a request, adding he is open to discussing all reasonable proposals to improve policing.