Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for April 24, 2013

‘Such occurrences strike the heartstrings of all of us’

The Yukon has joined jurisdictions across the country calling for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The Yukon has joined jurisdictions across the country calling for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

In the legislature Tuesday, Premier Darrell Pasloski moved that his government urge “the Government of Canada to hold a national public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal girls and consult with the provinces, territories and national aboriginal organizations on the terms of reference of the national public inquiry.”

The premier’s motion added the Yukon’s voice to a call that came a week earlier during a meeting in Winnipeg of provincial and territorial aboriginal affairs ministers.

Five national aboriginal organizations, the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council, and the Native Women’s Association of Canada added their voices to the call for a national inquiry, a call they’ve made repeatedly.

Pasloski, the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, did not attend the meeting, sending government representatives in his stead.

As finance minister, he said, he felt he needed to remain in the territory for debate on the budget tabled last month.

Following discussions with officials who attended the meeting, it was agreed the Yukon should add its voice to the call, Pasloski explained in a noon interview today.

“This is a national tragedy. This affects all jurisdictions in the country, and I think it affects all people,” he told the Star.

“As I’ve mentioned, I have three daughters, and such occurrences strike the heartstrings of all of us,” he said.

Leading question period Tuesday, NDP Justice critic Lois Moorcroft thanked the premier for supporting the proposed national inquiry.

“I am so pleased that the premier, although he could not give me an answer last week, has now indicated that he will support the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group in their call for a national public inquiry,” said Moorcroft, an NDP justice minister in the 1990s.

Moorcroft asked if the government would commit funding to allow “the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council, the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle, and the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society to participate in the Yukon portion of a national public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.”

The premier noted that the government has provided core operational funding for the three organizations in question over the next three years, but did not commit further funding.

Expanding today, Pasloski noted it’s still only speculative whether increased funding will be necessary. He noted that the federal government hasn’t yet accepted the call for a national inquiry.

“We’re supportive of this initiative going forward and if it does go forward we’ll anticipate that we will have a strong voice at that table coming up with what this will look like and we will play our part,” he said.

While Moorcroft reiterated her support for the premier’s decision to join other Canadian jurisdictions calling for a national inquiry, she noted it’s not certain that the Canadian government will heed that request.

“We do know that here in the Yukon, ongoing work to implement the recommendations of Sharing Common Ground will take place,” she said.

Sharing Common Ground is the final report stemming from a 2010-2011 review of Yukon’s RCMP.

“Will the premier make a commitment today that his government will, in fact, fund Yukon women’s groups so that they can participate on an equal basis with the government and the RCMP in improving police services for all women in the territory and for all members that are captured in the Sharing Common Ground report’s recommendations?” asked the NDP MLA for Copperbelt South.

Responding as the acting Justice minister, Scott Kent noted that the department has funded several women’s organizations to participate in implementing the recommendations of that final report.

Those include the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council, the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle, and the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society.

Chantal Genier, the president of the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council, also noted her pleasure that the government has joined the call for a national inquiry in a press release today.

“Jurisdictions cannot work effectively in silos; the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women is complex and multi-faceted requiring input from all the territories and provinces and needs to include those most affected, aboriginal women and the organizations that represent their interests,” Genier said in the release.

The aboriginal women’s council administered the Yukon Sisters in Spirit program from 2011-2013.

Through the program, the group identified 35 missing or murdered Yukon aboriginal women.

While the project has ended, the premier noted Tuesday that the RCMP are reviewing those cases “to collect information necessary to determine the circumstances of the cases and if police investigation or other response is warranted.”

CommentsAdd a comment

June Jackson

Apr 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Why is a national investigation being called for 1..just one segment of our society?

There are latino, white, asian etc. women and girls missing as well. I am sure there would be hell to pay if we formed an investigation and called it a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered White Women.

I think we need a comprehensive investigation, and searches too. People these days often do not leave witnesses. ALL women, ALL races, no matter what profession. We should be marching together.

Max Mack

Apr 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I think it is very sad that women are missing or have been murdered.
It is sadder yet that there are many THOUSANDS of men and boys who are missing and murdered, and I see no political push to address that issue.
The popular consensus appears to be that males deserve their fate, whereas females are powerless victims.

Sad.

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