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After many years of inaction from the previous government, the new Liberal government has announced the launch of a national inquiry to investigate the disproportionate number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
December 14, 2015
"Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls represent a heartbreaking national tragedy that must be addressed immediately. Inaction ends today."Carolyn BennettMinister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
Despite the fact that the homicide rate of non-indigenous women in Canada is declining, a 2014 report from the RCMP found that the homicide rate for indigenous women remains static. The same report identified a total of 1,181 missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in Canada.
The underlying causes of this national tragedy are wide ranging, including both socioeconomic and historic factors. Things like poverty and homelessness, as well as racism, sexism, and the lingering effects of the residential school system. With such a breadth of causes, over 1,700 recommendations has been proposed as to what needs to be done.
The government of Canada will work through a respectful and inclusive process in order to determine a way forward that is respectful and responds to the needs of survivors, family members and loved ones.
"This inquiry is necessary to address and prevent future violence against Indigenous women and girls. These women are not statistics – they are daughters, sisters, and mothers – and they have the right to live safely and free of violence."Patty HajduMinister of Status of Women
Minister Bennett, Minister Hajdu and Minister Wilson-Raybould hold a press conference on the first phase of the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, December 8, 2015.
Such an inquiry can only be truly meaningful if it reflects the concerns and expectations of those most dearly affected. That’s why the first step forward must be to consult with survivors, families, loved ones, indigenous organizations and communities, provinces and territories, and experts.
Many decisions still need to be made before an inquiry can get underway, including: how to conduct the inquiry, the length of the inquiry, who should be heard, and what issues should be considered. Feedback will be collected from all Canadians before moving ahead.
"The unanswered calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada end today. The launch of this inquiry is an important step towards a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship and sense of trust between the Government of Canada and Indigenous peoples in Canada."Jody Wilson-RaybouldMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
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