APTN National News
OTTAWA-The Native Women’s Association of Canada felt “betrayed” by the Conservative government’s announcement on missing and murdered Aboriginal women, APTN National News has been told.
Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose made the $10 million announcement on a national strategy to deal with the issue on Oct. 29 in Vancouver.
Almost half of the money, $4 million, is going to the RCMP’s Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children which will create a branch focused on missing persons and unidentified remains with no special emphasis on Aboriginal women.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) was not informed ahead of time about the contents of the announcement. The association was “shocked” by the amount of money that was going to police for something that “has nothing to do” with Aboriginal women.
They expected some of the money would go toward its vaunted Sisters in Spirit project which developed a database specifically to track cases involving Aboriginal women.
Instead, Status of Women Canada officials have told the organization it can’t use any government funding for projects using the name Sisters in Spirit or for upkeep of their database, which has verified almost 600 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
The Conservative government also used the announcement to unveil changes to the Criminal Code giving police more powers on wiretaps and accessing warrants.
NWAC says its Sisters in Spirit project will continue with or without government money.
NWAC, which held a board meeting over the weekend, is expected to speak Tuesday about their position.
The Conservatives set aside $10 million in the last federal budget for a national strategy on murdered and missing women. The government also confirmed their intentions to unveil the strategy in the Speech from the Throne.
The government has repeatedly shielded themselves from criticism on their recent announcement by claiming NWAC support.
More to come