The Chief of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte says there have been too many deaths and he’s pleased with the federal government announcing the terms of a long-awaited inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu attended an event at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec marking the end of the government’s work to design the scope of the study.
The process, designed to be arm’s length from government once it is up and running on September 1, is expected to last at least two years and cost at least $53.8 million – $13.8 million more for the study than was originally expected.
BC’s first woman First Nations judge Marion Buller will head a five-person panel of commissioners, including other experts in indigenous law, who will have the power to enforce the attendance of witnesses and compel them to give evidence.
Chief R. Don Maracle said he hopes the panel gets to the bottom of it adding they really have their work cut out for them. He is hopeful there will be strong participation from the families of the victims because, “they know the most about their family members’ lives and the things that contributed and led up to their tragic and untimely deaths.”
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said by digging for root causes, including past and present systemic and institutional barriers, the commission will help define actions needed to protect the human rights of indigenous women and girls.