VANCOUVER, Coast Salish Territories – The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association reacted today to the announcement that provincial and territorial premiers backed the creation of a national commission of inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women at their meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The Native Women’s Association of Canada was instrumental in obtaining the premiers’ support.
Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA, stated: “We applaud the call of premiers for a national commission of inquiry into the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women. This is an issue that affects every Canadian, whether Indigenous or non-Indigenous, the death and disappearance of Indigenous women is an issue of fundamental human rights. Governments across Canada have failed to protect these women. These women have not had the equal protection of the law. We need a national inquiry to help us learn how to stop this tragedy from continuing to consume the lives of hundreds of Indigenous women and girls.”
For such a national inquiry to have credibility, it must learn from the difficulties of the inquiry that took place in BC. It must ensure that marginalized communities and individuals, and the organizations that represent them, have the resources and legal representation that they need to effectively participate and to have their voices heard. BCCLA and allies Pivot and West Coast LEAF have issued a Blueprint containing lessons to improve inquiries dealing with marginalized people, and we hope that these lessons will be considered in designing any national process.
BCCLA, Pivot Legal Society, and West Coast LEAF issued a report called Blueprint for an Inquiry that identifies specific lessons for future commissions of inquiry involving marginalized people. It is available here >>