RCMP to release ‘update’ report on murdered, missing Indigenous women file in May

RCMP rejects call from Minister Valcourt to release all murdered, missing Indigenous women data

 Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
The RCMP will be releasing a report updating its ongoing work on the murdered and missing Indigenous women’s file in May, according to a spokesperson for the federal police force.

The spokesperson also rejected a call Tuesday from Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt’s office for the RCMP to release all the information it has compiled on murdered and missing Indigenous women.

RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Harold Pfleiderer said the RCMP would release an “update” on the next steps mentioned in last year’s release of the force’s National Overview on Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women. Pfleiderer said the expected May report from the RCMP would focus on the “next steps” identified in the report released last year.

The next steps include a focus on “enhancing efforts on unresolved cases.” About 46 per cent of missing and murdered Indigenous women cases fall under provincial or municipal police jurisdiction. The RCMP has said it provided some of its relevant data to police forces to improve their chances of solving cold cases. The RCMP also said it wanted to improve the way it gathers data. The RCMP also said it would be rolling out changes on how it collects information on murders or missing persons cases which included using Aboriginal origin as an identifier.

The other two “next steps” in the report mention the use of the new data to improve prevention efforts and “increasing” public awareness.

The new report, however, will not include “statistics on the ethnicity of the perpetrators of solved Aboriginal women homicides,” said Pfleiderer, in an emailed statement.

Earlier Tuesday, Valcourt’s office sent a statement to ATPN calling on the RCMP to release all its information on the file.

“We encourage the RCMP to release this information,” said the statement.

The statement was in response to an APTN question on a letter sent by Treaty 6 Grand Chief Bernice Martial Monday to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson. The letter asked Paulson to release the entirety of its murdered and missing Indigenous women information.

APTN forwarded the statement from the minister’s office to Pfleiderer seeking a response.

Valcourt claimed in a closed-door meeting on March 20 that RCMP data shows Indigenous men are responsible for 70 per cent of the murders of Indigenous women.

APTN National News has learned other First Nation leaders have also received portions of unreleased information from the RCMP’s 1,181 missing and murdered Indigenous women cases held by about 200 police departments dating back to 1980.

Supt. Tyler Bates, who is in charge of Aboriginal policing, told APTN in 2013 not all the information compiled by the RCMP as part of the project would be made public.

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