Special MPs committee on murdered, missing Indigenous women holds inaugural meeting Tuesday

The Liberal MP whose Valentine’s Day House of Commons motion was the catalyst for an MPs committee on missing and murdered Indigenous women says she hopes the work doesn’t get “hijacked” by political agendas.

APTN National News
OTTAWA–The Liberal MP whose Valentine’s Day House of Commons motion was the catalyst for a special committee on missing and murdered Indigenous women says she hopes the work doesn’t get “hijacked” by political agendas.

The Special Committee on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will meet for the first time Tuesday evening. The committee was created on a motion introduced by Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett. The motion received all-party support on Feb. 14.

In a letter to the members of the committee, Bennett wrote that she hopes all the members of the committee find common ground in trying to end “this terrible epidemic” through its hearings and recommendations.

“There have been concerns raised by many that this committee could be hijacked by political agendas rather than providing meaningful recommendations for ending the disproportionate level of violence experienced by Aboriginal women and girls,” wrote Bennett, in the March 25 dated letter. “I believe we can put those concerns to rest right from our very first meeting…our study must reflect the unanimous will of the House of Commons.”

A Conservative official said the government is sending in its “A team” to the committee with four parliamentary secretaries expected to take a seat around the table.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s office is also expected to keep an eye on the committee. Nicholson’s office could not be immediately reached for comment.

Greg Rickford, parliamentary secretary for Aboriginal affairs, could not be immediately reached for comment. Rickford is a member of the committee.

NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Jean Crowder said she also hoped all committee members shed their partisan colours before engaging in the committee’s work.

“I am really hoping we can work…in a non-partisan matter,” said Crowder. “There are a lot of hopeful words here. Perhaps we will be able to move beyond what was done in the past.”

Crowder said she hoped the committee would not take away from calls for a national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women or the need for an action plan to deal with violence against Indigenous women.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told First Nations chiefs on Jan. 11 that he didn’t think a national inquiry would accomplish much, according to draft minutes from the meeting.

Bennett said in an interview that the stakes are high for the committee.

“Canada is watching and wants us to do a proper piece of work,” she said.

The committee members are expected to elect the chair during the Tuesday evening meeting.

Online Producer / Ottawa

Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.

1 thought on “Special MPs committee on murdered, missing Indigenous women holds inaugural meeting Tuesday

  1. YA some of these women are also being sold- human trafficking. Some are being sold overseas as rumor has it.

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