Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, alongside Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett and Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu, announced today the first phase of the inquiry into the deaths of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada.
Wilson-Raybould says the government will be consulting with the families of victims over the next two months, so they know how the inquiry should be designed and what this inquiry needs to accomplish.
While she says ‘no inquiry can undo what has happened,’ this first phase will help find a way forward because Canada ‘can and must do better.’
When asked if racism and sexism have played a role in this issue, Bennett said they are ‘hugely involved.’
“We need to hear those stories, so that Canadians understand, really, that racism and sexism in this country kills,” Bennett told reporters.
The former Conservative government famously dismissed an inquiry, but interim leader of the Official Opposition, Rona Ambrose, has come to support an inquiry.
“We are very pleased to have the leader of the official opposition on side now, with the work that we have to do all together,” Bennett added.
This is aimed to be the first of two phases, but Bennett says the inquiry will have as many as it takes to get it right.
Since this announcement, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad, and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton have issued a statement together about the inquiry, saying ‘our government has been clear that we support a national inquiry.’
B.C. has made significant changes coming out of the missing women’s inquiry, greatly improving safety for vulnerable women in our province.
In addition, we have provided compensation to the children of the victims, vastly improved police communications, established new police standards for bias-free policing, and established a robust provincial response for missing persons, including new missing persons legislation.
We have also made our northern highways safer, helping to improve cell coverage on Highway 16 by almost 50%.
This statement added that the work done covers the major themes recommended by Commissioner Wally Oppal, QC.