APTN National News
Ottawa is consulting with the provinces on the eventual launch of an inquiry into the high number of murdered and missing Indigenous women across the country, according to Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett.
Bennett told reporters Thursday that her office is placing “individual calls” to provincial capitals as the Trudeau government prepares to launch a pre-consultation process that is expected to include the families of the missing and murdered. Bennett said these calls will eventually lead to more concrete discussions.
“We’re just making individual calls at the moment. There will be a time hopefully that we will be able to come together and talk about expectations of the inquiry,” said Bennett. “Because, as of yet, we are still thinking about how we go out in a meaningful way and get the best possible inquiry results.”
Bennett said she is “listening” to what the provinces have to say on the issue.
“This is a very complex file. It crosses many government departments and pretty well all jurisdictions,” said Bennett. “This is a complex issue that will require many, many partners in order to make the changes we need, in order to change what’s happening and to stop the epidemic.”
Bennett has already stated that details on the per-consultation process would be released by month’s end.
The minister said the previous Conservative government played with the facts around the issue to defend its position against calling an inquiry. She said former Aboriginal affairs minister Bernard Valcourt’s suggestion that Indigenous men were responsible for the majority of the violence against Indigenous women was “appalling” and ignored the real root causes.
“I think it was appalling in terms of blame. I think it doesn’t deal with the effects of colonization. It doesn’t deal with the effects of child abuse and it doesn’t…deal with the fact the RCMP found that frankly Indigenous women…are slightly less likely to be killed by an intimate partner than the non-Indigenous community,” said Bennett. “Fooling around with those kinds of facts is really unhelpful.”
New interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said last week her party now supports an inquiry.