Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls gets Alberta's support

Government of Alberta - The Minister of Indigenous Relations, Richard Feehan, issued the following statement in response to today’s federal announcement of a five-member commission to lead the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, along with terms of reference to guide their work.

“This is an important step. I’d like to commend the federal government for its commitment to address this national crisis.

“I am also mindful that today’s announcement may be extremely difficult for affected families and loved ones to hear. It is important that their voices and concerns are heard in coming months.

“Our government has always supported the call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. We are working to ensure provincial powers are available to the commission to support their critical work in our province.

“We must work together to improve the safety and security of Indigenous women and girls across Alberta and Canada.”

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada press release:

Government of Canada names commissioners for national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls

Canada is committed to real reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is an important step on this path to end the unacceptable rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls.

Today, Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, along with Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women, announced the five commissioners who will lead the Inquiry as well as the Terms of Reference for the National Inquiry.

Canada is grateful to the survivors, families, loved ones and grassroots women's organizations, front-line, feminist Indigenous organizations, national Indigenous organizations, as well as well as provinces and territories, and experts who provided input during the pre-inquiry process. The input received through the 18 sessions and the online survey helped shape the Inquiry that the Commissioners will now be leading.

The Commissioners have the background, characteristics and experience we heard was necessary in the pre-inquiry design phase to lead this Inquiry.

The Commissioners are:
The Honourable Marion Buller, Chief Commissioner
Michèle Audette, Commissioner
Qajaq Robinson, Commissioner
Marilyn Poitras, Commissioner
Brian Eyolfson, Commissioner

The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry were also released today.

The National Inquiry will be funded by the Government of Canada, with the participation and full co-operation of all the provinces and territories. Together, the federal, provincial and territorial governments have ensured the Inquiry has the necessary mandate and tools to help bring this national tragedy to an end.

In response to the pre-inquiry recommendations, the Government also announced today $16.17 million over four years for the creation of Family Information Liaison Units in each province and territory and to increase Victims Services funding to provide culturally-appropriate victims services for families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and survivors of violence. The Family Information Liaison Units will provide centralized, dedicated resources for families of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls and gather the information families are seeking on their behalf. These services will be provided in a respectful and co-ordinated manner during the Inquiry.

"For over a decade, the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls have been demanding action. Today, after meaningful engagement with the families, experts and those with lived experience, ‎I am proud that the Prime Minister, with the support of all provinces and territories, has appointed five outstanding Commissioners ‎who will now be able to do the work needed for Canada to put in place the concrete actions necessary to put an end to this national tragedy." - The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P. Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
"The launch of the Inquiry represents a concrete expression of the government's commitment to honouring the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. By examining the root causes that have contributed to this national tragedy, including past and present systemic and institutional barriers, the Commission of Inquiry will play a pivotal role in helping all of us to define where best to continue to act to protect the human rights of all Indigenous women and girls in Canada." - The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
"This team will bring a depth and mix of personal, academic and professional experiences to the task of listening, documenting and seeking to bring to light the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada and to make recommendations for effective action." - The Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P. Minister of Status of Women
Quick facts:
  • Government of Canada launched the Inquiry on December 8, 2015, which was followed by a three month pre-inquiry engagement process.
  • During these three months, 18 face-to-face sessions were held from coast-to-coast-to-coast, with over 2,000 participants and over 4,100 online submissions.
  • On February 26, 2016, at the National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the federal, provincial and territorial governments agreed to participation and full cooperation in a National Inquiry.
  • The Government published the results of this engagement on May 31, 2016.
  • The Government committed $53.86 million over 2 years (2016/17- 2017/18) to establish an Inquiry which will make recommendations on concrete actions to address and prevent violence against Indigenous women and girls, including systemic and societal discrimination.

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