Greens support call for inquiry into crisis of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands, supports the call from Canada’s premiers and Aboriginal leaders for a national inquiry into Canada’s crisis of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.

“The violence faced by Aboriginal women and girls in this country is our shared national disgrace,” said May. “It is not enough to simply say, as Prime Minister Harper has, that Tina Fontaine’s murder was a crime – We must confront the racism, poverty and legacies of colonialism leading up to it. That is why our party has been calling for an inquiry since October 2013. I applaud Canada’s Premiers and Aboriginal leaders for demanding an inquiry so that our country can at last move forward in resolving this crisis.”

“Even though, the Prime Minister has totally closed his mind and thinks this is only a law and order problem, surely his Aboriginal Affairs and Justice Minister could agree to a national roundtable that Premiers and Aboriginal leaders have asked for, to discuss the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.”

This week, provincial and territorial premiers, along with the leaders of the five national Aboriginal organizations, are meeting in Charlottetown for the 55th annual Council of the Federation Premiers Conference. The Premiers, along with the five national Aboriginal leaders are expected to issue a statement calling on the federal government to begin a public inquiry into the disproportionately high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. As a first step, Premiers and Aboriginal Leaders asked federal Ministers to establish a national roundtable in an effort to re-open the dialogue.

“An inquiry is long overdue,” said Green Deputy Leader Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay–Superior North. “We can’t keep ignoring the connections between these acts of violence committed against Aboriginal women and girls. We owe it to the victims and their families to use every tool we have to investigate this serious problem and solve it, before even more women are put at risk. The government must act now and open an inquiry.”

“All Canadians must concern themselves with the alarmingly high rates of violence against girls and women – This country needs to be a safe place for all of our daughters,” said Green Party Aboriginal Affairs Critic Lorraine Rekmans. “The murder and disappearance of women is unacceptable in any country. We need an inquiry and an accounting of all agencies that are supposed to be protecting us.”

An RCMP report issued earlier this year states that there have been 1,181 police-recorded incidents of aboriginal homicides and unresolved missing women investigations over the past 30 years, and aboriginal women are more than seven times as likely as non-aboriginal women to be victims of homicide.