(Photo: Justice Minister Rob Nicholson (centre) during a press conference Tuesday. APTN photo)
APTN National News
OTTAWA-Justice Minister Rob Nicholson remained vague Tuesday on his government’s plans to deliver on a promise to create a $10 million strategy to deal with the “disturbing number” of murdered and missing First Nations, Metis and Inuit women across the country.
Nicholson said the Conservative government had set aside the money, but was still in involved in discussions with the provinces and police forces at the federal and provincial level.
“We want to get it right. We are looking at a number of different options,” said Nicholson, talking to reporters in Ottawa. “I know there are discussions between federal and provincial law enforcement agencies across the country on this issue…we will be making an announcement in due course.”
Nicholson, however, would not venture to hint on what those discussions entailed, what options were being considered or whether the government was getting tangled in inter-jurisdictional issues.
“We are in consultation as a federal government with other levels of government to try to coordinate our activities to ensure information is shared on this issue,” said Nicholson. “Everybody has a stake in this issue.”
In the Speech from the Throne, delivered this past March, the government promised to “take additional action to address the disturbing number of unsolved cases of murdered and missing Aboriginal women. The Sisters in Spirit initiative has drawn particular attention to this pressing criminal justice priority.”
The government then set aside $10 million in the federal budget.
The Sisters In Spirit initiative researches and raises awareness on the high rates of violence against Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.
Eight months later, it remains unclear what “additional action” the government plans to take. First Nations women’s groups have voiced their growing frustration at the silence emanating from Ottawa on the issue. Groups are also concerned they are not being consulted on the government’s plans.
Thousands gathered in vigils across the country Monday to keep the memories of hundreds of murdered and missing First Nations, Metis and Inuit women alive.