5 questions the government needs to answer before the start of the #MMIW inquiry

APTN National News 
OTTAWA – The pre-consultation sessions with families and friends of missing and murdered Indigenous women is over.

The sessions are part of the Liberal government promise to launch a full public inquiry into the more than 1,200 missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

More than 2,000 family members met with government leaders over the course of the past month.

Now the government has to come up with a plan.

Here are five questions the government will need to explore:

1. Who will the commissioner or commissioners be?

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said Monday the government still needs to determine who will lead the inquiry but there is hope the process will be up and running by the summer. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission had three commissioners for its six-year study of the residential school legacy. How many for this inquiry?

2. What role will families play in the Inquiry? 

One of the common themes during the pre-inquiry process is that families need to be involved in the public inquiry. How will the be involved? How will the government do that?

3. How will the government ensure the inquiry is national in scope?

Bennett said Monday the government will need to work closely with the provinces and territories to ensure the examination is not simply a federal undertaking. How will provincial and territorial governments be involved in the process as it moves forward? What kind of travel will be involved in the study?

4. What will the role be for police forces?

Bennett has indicated some families in the pre-inquiry process have suggested they do not trust police. RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson made headlines in December when he admitted there are racists within the national police force. How will officers be involved in the inquiry process?

5. How long will the inquiry take?

During the election campaign, the Liberals said they were looking at a two-year inquiry. Bennett indicated Monday the breadth and depth of the problem is far greater than the government originally anticipated. Does this mean the future commissioners will need more time to look at complex issues that come up during the course of the inquiry? And will there be extra costs? The Liberals suggested during the campaign that the inquiry would cost $40-million, but Bennett later indicated this was a “placeholder” budget. The government is keen to ensure it gets the process right. Will this be enough money for this undertaking or will more be needed?

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— with files from The Canadian Press