Standing Up for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

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Click here to watch video: February 11, 2010 ~ Question Period: Call for Inquiry re: Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women ~ Doug Routley, MLA Nanaimo-North Cowichan; Michelle Mungall, MLA Nelson-Creston; Bob Simpson, MLA Cariboo North

On Thursday, the Prime Minister of Canada addressed the BC Legislature from inside the Chamber.

Outside, earlier in the day, First Nations women and Chiefs called on both the Prime Minister and BC Premier to act on the issue of the missing and murdered women, most of whom are Aboriginal. They said there are 3000 across Canada since 1970, but only 520 have been recognized. The United Nations has expressed its disappointment in the lack of government action on this issue as well, and West Coast LEAF has given BC a grade of F for its (lack of) response.

Taking the concerns of First Nations Chiefs and women into the House, Michelle Mungall and NDP colleagues asked the BC Liberal Government to commit to a public inquiry on the missing and murdered women.

Here’s part of the Hansard Transcript:

M. Mungall: The first nations representatives who were here today noted that there are many solutions to prevent the violence that takes their mothers, their daughters, their sisters, their aunties and friends from their communities. We know that the police are doing whatever they can. But the solutions that they spoke of need real government involvement, real government action and real government implementation.

The representatives from first nations communities want a public inquiry. They want to know why. They want to know how we can stop this. So the question is: will the Deputy Premier today, on this day, commit to a public inquiry for the missing and murdered aboriginal women of this province?

Hon. M. de Jong: I’ve had occasion in the course of fulfilling various duties in this chamber, as Attorney General and as the minister responsible for aboriginal relations, to meet with some of the people directly affected. The member is correct about the concern they have expressed with respect to individual cases and the underlying reasons that may account for some of those cases.

The work the government is doing in partnership with leadership within first nations communities is designed to address some of those underlying reasons, to bridge those socioeconomic gaps that for too long have separated aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians. That is the grand issue that we have as a challenge, which we as a government and I hope all members and think all members want to work on.

In the meantime there are, of course, individual families who are confronted by very personal tragedies, and the investigating authorities will continue to work to try and find answers for them as well.