APTN National News
OTTAWA—Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt and Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch will attend this month’s planned roundtable to discuss the high number of murdered and missing Indigenous women across the country.
The roundtable is scheduled for Feb. 27 in Ottawa and will include representatives from national Aboriginal organizations, provincial and territorial governments and now the federal government.
The roundtable discussions are expected to cover several areas including prevention, awareness, community safety plans and the response from policing and judicial authorities.
“We all have a role to play in protecting Aboriginal women and girls,” said a statement from Leitch’s office. “We look forward to meeting with our provincial and territorial partners, as well as First Nations leaders to discuss how we can all take action to address this important issue.”
The government’s statement said that it has created an action plan to counter violence against Indigenous women and girls along with a DNA missing person’s database. The statement said the government had also invested to create more community safety plans.
“We have heard from victims’ families that now is the time for action, no more studies and that’s what we are committed to,” said the statement.
The Harper government has refused to heed calls for a national inquiry into the nearly 1,200 Indigenous women who have been murdered or gone missing since 1980. Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently told newly-elected Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde that his government would not be calling the inquiry.