APTN National News
OTTAWA—Five federal cabinet ministers have been invited to attend a planned Feb. 27 roundtable in Ottawa to discuss the high number of murdered and missing Indigenous women across the country.
Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt, Justice Minister Peter MacKay, Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney were sent letters last December asking them to attend the roundtable.
The one-day meeting is expected to be chaired by the premier of the Northwest Territories, Bob McLeod. Premiers or their representatives from the other provinces and territories are also expected to attend the roundtable.
The letter said the idea for the roundtable was born last summer during a meeting in Charlottetown between the premiers and the leaders of Aboriginal organizations.
“There is no question that all Canadians and all governments are concerned with the high rates of violence against Indigenous—First Nations, Metis and Inuit—women and girls,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by APTN National News.
The Dec. 19, 2014, dated invitations to the ministers were signed by the heads of six Aboriginal organizations including the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Women of the Metis Nation and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.
Leitch and Ambrose’s offices have acknowledged receiving the invitation. Both said their ministers would soon respond.
Valcourt’s office refused to answer any questions on the issue, referring queries to the Leitch’s office. Valcourt has blamed First Nations men for their lack of respect for women on reserve as one of the reasons a national inquiry into the nearly 1200 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls won’t solve anything.
MacKay and Blaney’s offices did not respond to request for comment from APTN National News as of this article’s posting.
The Harper government has resisted calls for a national inquiry.