"There is an opportunity to bring peace to many families who have lost loved ones, but also to address the factors that have contributed to this tragedy, such as racism, poverty, and sexism." — Elisabeth Ballermann, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer
Ottawa (10 Jan. 2017) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has released their official Report Card on the activities of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (Inquiry). In a press release, NWAC saiid that the Report Card was "drafted to reflect the success of the Inquiry in meeting its directives and mandates as it progresses, NWAC is employing this tool to provide the public with a comprehensive update and in an effort to participate in, and impact, the operations of the inquiry going forward."
NWAC's report card outlines concerns about inclusiveness and scope
“Families and loved ones of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) were discouraged by the lack of communication from the Inquiry following its official date of establishment on September 1st, 2016. They deserved to have some communication about how and when they could expect to provide their testimonies,” began NWAC President Francyne D. Joe. “NWAC wants to have a more active voice in constructing strategies that will protect participants at every step of this journey. It is essential that the Inquiry be sensitive to the trauma experienced by those being interviewed, that those participants feel welcomed as allies, and that the MMIWG are honoured. Having worked with families and survivors, NWAC has experience and knowledge in this area. We recommend working directly with families in shaping how they will be meaningfully engaged in this process.”
The NWAC President commented further about the Report Card, which is to be released quarterly. “We’ve been very vocal in our concerns regarding the lack of specific guidelines in the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the Inquiry. The Report Card gives us an opportunity to outline the ways in which the Inquiry is successfully implementing their broader ToRs in the areas we’ve found to be potentially problematic. These include the identification of and actions to remove systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls at a national and provincial level as well as the ability of participants to pursue or reopen individual cases through the justice system.”
Report Card designed to bring Commission progress and findings to everyone
“NWAC encourages the Inquiry to be as transparent as possible and to provide families with the resources necessary to access the Commission. The intent of this Inquiry is not only to bring some semblance of peace to those close to the MMIWG but also to make every Canadian feel like they are taking part in reconciliation,” Joe concluded. “It is our report’s intent to make it accessible to everyone.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has been a supporter of NWAC's work and the call for an inquiry. "There has been an ongoing call for an inquiry since the 1990s, so we were pleased to see the federal government act. There is an opportunity to bring peace to many families who have lost loved ones," said Elisabeth Ballermann, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer, "but also to address the factors that have contributed to this tragedy, such as racism, poverty, and sexism. Following the lead of our allies, we need to ensure that the Commission takes full advantage of this process to achieve the best results possible. It's been far too long already to waste this moment."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE