St. John’s Chapter of the Council of Canadians strongly supports the call for a national inquiry on murdered and missing Indigenous women (MMIW)
Our chapter's Letter to the Editor was published in the Telegram.
Indigenous women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, yet they account for 16 per cent of murdered women and 11.3 per cent of missing women.
In the last 30 years, 1,026 Indigenous women have been murdered and 160 are missing. Sadly, the numbers continue to increase.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is wrong. These MMIW cases are both crimes and sociological phenomena. Many professional and competent commentators have stated and unequivocally asserted that the over-representation of Indigenous women as victims of violence serves as concrete evidence that the problem is systemic.
We clearly need to deeply examine why this is happening and to come up with a national action plan.
While Harper shuns a national inquiry, aboriginal leaders, opposition leaders, provincial leaders, civil society leaders, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, many professional sociologists and criminologists, and many Canadians all support the call for one.
More importantly, the families of these murdered and missing women call for this inquiry.
These families will gather in Ottawa on Feb. 26 as part of a national day of action. Some of them will then participate in a roundtable meeting on this issue with provincial premiers and indigenous organizations on Feb. 27.We, in the St. John’s Chapter of the Council of Canadians, join in the collective call for a national inquiry and urge all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to stand with us in support.
Finally, we urge Stephen Harper to do the right thing with respect to an inquiry and cede to the will of the people on this matter of a national inquiry.
Ken Kavanagh, Erika Steeves