Canada’s treatment of Indigenous women not a ‘genocide’: Andrew Scheer


“It does not fall into the category of genocide,” says Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Photo: APTN file.

The Canadian Press
“Genocide” isn’t the right word to describe what’s been done to generations of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Monday.

“I believe that, as most Canadians do, that every single life lost is a tragedy, has a huge impact on families and loved ones and that there are concrete things the government can do, that all levels of government can do, to help protect vulnerable people in our society, specifically Indigenous women and girls,” Scheer said on Parliament Hill.

“That being said, the ramifications of the term ‘genocide’ are very profound. That word and term carries a lot of meaning. I think the tragedy involved with missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is its own thing, it is its own tragedy, and does not fall into that category of genocide.”

The federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls released its final report a week ago. The report says that under international law, a genocide doesn’t need a single directing mind, or to be an organized campaign of violence.

The inquiry’s four commissioners included a long separate argument for why Canada’s “series of actions and omissions,” from residential schools to poor health care to unsafe transportation to indifferent or even hostile policing, have allowed Indigenous women to be targeted in numerous ways that add up to what they called an ongoing genocide.

“Canada has displayed a continuous policy, with shifting expressed motives but an ultimately steady intention, to destroy Indigenous Peoples physically, biologically, and as social units,” through oppressive colonial actions that have persisted since Europeans began settling, the commissioners’ argument says.

The inquiry report says it’s impossible to count the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada accurately. One reckoning by the RCMP found 1,186 applicable cases in its files over the past 30 years alone. The Mounties do not police the whole country, not every missing person is reported and not every death becomes a police matter.

The use of the term “genocide” in the report instantly sparked arguments over whether the inquiry commissioners’ label is accurate and whether those arguments risk obscuring their other findings and the 231 recommendations they made.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not directly answered questions about whether he agrees with that, though he has said he accepts the findings of the report.

Canada signed on to the United Nations’ 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which included commitments to avert and stop genocidal acts and to punish perpetrators. After the latest inquiry report was released, the secretary general of the Organization of American States said he wanted to form an international panel to investigate the claim and achieve justice.

On Sunday, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett told Global Television’s “The West Block” that the Liberal government would support such a call because it believes in the “rules-based international system.”

“The idea that Canada would now be subject to the types of international actions that follow findings of genocide, I think we have to be very careful with the use of that terminology and I don’t want to get distracted from the good work that the report has done,” Scheer said.

“But that being said, I think that the tragedy is its own thing, it is its own heartbreaking situation for every single family that was affected by it, and it does not fall into the category of genocide.”

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2 thoughts on “Canada’s treatment of Indigenous women not a ‘genocide’: Andrew Scheer

  1. straight talk
    Sheer you disgust me, you can’t see the genocide here because your people the colonists do not want the label but first nations know it. we have lived it, put in the reservations not being able to leave without a piece of paper from the Indian agent. Residential schools, day schools, numbers put on us. Hello you goof, tell us again how you can help? You will not be prime minister in your life time. eh

  2. Well Mr Scheer,
    I pose a question to you and others that believe as you do. What if the people who are being marginalized as non genocide victims by your commentary, were members of your immediate and extended family? There have been so many women and girls who have been taken and never been seen again. So how can they be counted?The amount of indigenous women and girls that are missing and murdered if compared as First Nations to Caucasian ,the resulting numbers would be staggering. Get one of your lackeys to look into it. Quit being so arrogant and self righteous, election time is coming or did you forget?
    Would you feel the same way if you were listening to or reading some other cultural shpoots words saying this to you. I find your words offensive and if I were able to, I would make it that so you leave our employ,along with Trudeau. You are paid for, by us the people you should not be offending. When are you accountable for what harm you do to us?
    The indigenous people of our country I know have been treated so horribly by the white man since we set foot here on Turtle Island. This was their land before we came here for thousands of years and our goverment through its policies and wordsmanship has made their lives hell. Our government made treaties to their sovereign nations then lied cheated and stole their culture, lands and lives from them . Residential schools run till 1996 by pedophiles and murderers in that sainted religion,you know who I mean. Then called them liars, it couldn’t happen,they were men and women of god. Really??? Anyone who does that should be shot as rabid dog would be , in my humble opinion
    They have been treated as less than dogs, there are indigenous people who are forced to live in conditions worse than a 3rd world country. Aren’t we a G7 country ,so why is this acceptable to treat them as our government has. It continues to this day with Trudeau and his empty words and actions at the helm. You people that represent the citizens who pay your wages can do better by all of us (red black white and yellow) we are all human. You would do well to remember this.
    And you say it’s not genocide! That’s a harsh term …. What is it but a slow genocide?
    R. Harvey

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