Fam­i­lies want more res­ig­na­tions from In­dige­nous women in­quiry

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

There were more calls Wed­nes­day for ma­jor changes to the na­tional in­quiry into miss­ing and mur­dered In­dige­nous women, in­clud­ing the res­ig­na­tion of all re­main­ing com­mis­sion­ers.

“We think that it would be in the best in­ter­ests of the In­dige­nous women of Canada that the cur­rent com­mis­sion­ers be brave and re­sign — step down,” said San­dra De­laronde, co-chair of a coali­tion of Man­i­toba rel­a­tives of miss­ing and mur­dered women.

“The na­tional in­quiry, in its cur­rent form, is not hear­ing the voices, is not invit­ing the con­sul­ta­tion ... of the fam­i­lies and those that work on a daily ba­sis with fam­i­lies.”

De­laronde’s com­ments came one day af­ter one of five in­quiry com­mis­sion­ers, Mar­i­lyn Poitras, re­signed say­ing she could not con­tinue un­der the in­quiry’s cur­rent struc­ture. In re­cent weeks, the com­mis­sion has also seen res­ig­na­tions from ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Michele Moreau, di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions Chan­tale Courcy and oth­ers.

Sheila North Wil­son, a grand chief who rep­re­sents First Na­tions in north­ern Man­i­toba, has called on chief com­mis­sioner Mar­ion Buller to step down.

Rel­a­tives of the miss­ing and mur­dered have lost faith that the in­quiry will prop­erly ful­fil its man­date and of­fer hope that the num­ber of vic­tims will be lower in the fu­ture, the coali­tion said.

De­laronde says fam­i­lies don’t want the in­quiry scrapped, but want sev­eral changes in­clud­ing a slate of new com­mis­sion­ers who are re­lated to vic­tims or who have worked closely with vic­tims’ fam­i­lies and an In­dige­nous-led process that is less like a court­room hear­ing.

Betty Rourke, whose sis­ter and daugh­ter were killed in sep­a­rate in­ci­dents decades apart, said she watched footage of the in­quiry’s hear­ing in White­horse and was shocked.

“It’s al­most like you’re on trial there,” she said.

“We don’t want to have to be sworn-in, you know? Be­cause we’re go­ing to tell the truth. What, don’t you be­lieve me? That hurts. That re­ally hurts.”

The coali­tion also wants a sep­a­rate com­mis­sioner for Man­i­toba.

The in­quiry is still plan­ning to move ahead with its work as planned, in­clud­ing nine hear­ings this fall be­gin­ning in Septem­ber in Thun­der Bay, Ont.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment gave the com­mis­sion­ers a bud­get of about $53.8 mil­lion and asked them to com­plete their work by the end of 2018, with an in­terim re­port due in Novem­ber.

Buller has al­ready in­di­cated more time and fund­ing will be re­quired but a for­mal ap­pli­ca­tion has yet to be filed to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.