OTTAWA – A long-awaited inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women has been officially launched by the federal government.
Three federal cabinet ministers announced today the terms for a national inquiry on the issue, which activists call a national crisis.
The issue is especially prevalent in Manitoba, which makes it somewhat curious that all five commissioners leading the inquiry are not from this province.
Manitoba Justice Minister Heather Stefanson says its disappointing.
“I think we have a lot to offer, we’re a unique province, we have one of the largest indigenous populations across the country. It would be great to have a seat at the table, but certainly our voice will be heard and we will ensure that is the case.”
Stefanson also says she hopes the inquiry can avoid duplicating inquiries that have been held in Manitoba, such as the $14-million inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair.
Having said that, the minister did throw her support behind the cause.
St. Johns MLA Nahanni Fontaine echoed Stefanson’s sentiments, wishing they would have been included but also placing faith in the five commissioners in charge.
“I know that they are extraordinary people, I know they fully appreciate and understand the sacredness of the role they’ve all just agreed to, and they will do everything within their power to ensure that the national inquiry meets its mandate. But more importantly, I believe that they will do everything that they can to honour MMIWG families and their particular loved ones.”
The five people appointed to lead the inquiry are BC First Nations judge Marion Buller, First Nations advocate Michèle Audette, Ottawa-based lawyer Qajaq Robinson, Aboriginal law expert Marilyn Poitras, and human rights lawyer Brian Eyolfson.
Photo from Global News