A group of First Nations and Women’s groups are keeping the pressure on Ottawa and Victoria demanding action on the issue of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women.
The Coalition on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is urging new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to learn from the mistakes made during the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (MWCI). The MWCI was conducted by Wally Opal in 2012 following the conviction of serial killer Robert Pickton.
“We need a commitment from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the outset that they will implement all of the recommendations.” NDP MLA Jenny Kwan said “We do not want to see a repeat of the Opal Inquiry.”
Many of 56 recommendations directed at the provincial government as a result of the MWCI remain unimplemented. Foremost; a shuttle bus along the Highway of Tears.
“It was one of the key recommendations from the Opal Inquiry, and we still don’t have the shuttle bus.” Kwan said “And now, we find out that they deleted emails around the Highway of Tears and the need for that shuttle bus.”
The Coalition is asking the federal government to begin a “pre-inquiry consultation” and consult with them to make sure a national inquiry is able to meet its goals. In an open letter to Justin Trudeau, they called the MWCI a “dismal failure” that was “too narrow to address the roots causes of the problem”
“Learn from that history, and do this inquiry and do it right” Kwan added
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs is hoping that Justin Trudeau is more receptive than Christy Clark. “It’s pretty damn hard to engage a government that deletes the very substance of those discussions through correspondence, and that’s just absolutely unacceptable.”
Phillip added that he wants to see a woman run the national inquiry. “We need to get this right, and we’ll only be able to do that if women take the lead.”