Parliamentary committee’s report on violence against Indigenous women ‘sanitized’

UNCATEGORIZED | 07. MAR, 2014 BY  |Parliamentary committee’s report on violence against Indigenous women ‘sanitized’

Reposted from:

APTN National News

OTTAWA–The Conservative MPs on the House of Commons special committee on violence against Indigenous women refused to add calls for a public inquiry as part of the main recommendations in the committee’s report tabled Friday in Parliament.

The committee’s main recommendations, which were essentially those of Conservative MPs on the committee, generally reflected the Harper government’s current policy on the issue.

There are an estimated 800 murdered and missing Indigenous women across the country.

The report included the dissenting opinions of the NDP and Liberals MPs on the committee who both recommended the government to call a public inquiry and issued a separate set of recommendations. The NDP and Liberals also recommended the government develop a national action plan to combat violence against Indigenous women.

“It is appalling that after hearing witness after witness testify that much more needs to be done on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the Conservatives could produce a sanitized report saying that everything is fine,” said NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Jean Crowder.

“That this report only contains recommendations approved by the government, and does not reflect the testimony of witnesses, is in flagrant disregard of Parliamentary principles,” said Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett.

Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) president Michelle Audette said the report marked a “sad day for the families.”

Audette said Indigenous women needed concrete action from Ottawa.

“Look how much they spend for nothing when we are dying on the streets,” said Audette.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo said he would be meeting with NWAC, the Metis National Council and the inuit Tapiriit Kanatami to discuss what to do to up pressure on the issue.

“This report is disappointing to Indigenous women and girls and all Canadians who stand with us,” said Atleo.

According to the evidence heard by the committee, 70 per cent of disappearances and 60 per cent of murders of Indigenous women happen in urban centres. The committee heard that over 87 per cent of these women were mothers of at least one child, according to data provided by NWAC.

NWAC also told the committee that of the over 582 cases they’ve tallied, 39 per cent occurred after 2000 and 17 per cent in the 1990s. NWAC also found that half of the cases remain unsolved. The Canadian average for homicide investigation is a 75 per cent solve rate.

Indigenous women are also far more likely to be murdered than non-Indigenous women. Between 2004 and 2011, Indigenous women accounted for 8 per cent of murders while being only 4 per cent of the total population of women.

Indigenous women are also more likely to be attacked by a stranger than non-Indigenous women, the committee heard.

Indigenous women are also more likely to face violence in domestic situations. According to the 2009 General Social Survey, indigenous women face twice the rate of domestic violence than the general population.

While the Conservative MP’s recommendations in the report called on Ottawa to work with provinces, territories and municipalities to create “public awareness and prevention” campaigns in its first recommendation, the four that followed simply mirrored already announced initiatives by the federal government.

The committee called on the government to “strengthen the criminal justice system” so “violent and repeat offenders serve appropriate sentences.” It recommended the Harper government “maintain its commitment to develop the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights” and implement a national DNA missing persons index, which was announced in the most recent budget.

The committee also recommended Ottawa support on-reserve K-12 education, which was recently the subject of joint federal government-Assembly of First Nations announcement.

The committee stopped short of calling for funding for women’s shelters and front-line services on reserve, but instead called on Ottawa to “engage First nation communities to examine how to improve” them.

APTN National News reported Thursday that an Iqaluit woman was murdered by her partner shortly before she was turned away by a shelter because it had no more room.

The committee recommended Ottawa address poverty as a root cause of violence against Indigenous women by providing economic development and job skills training. It also called on the federal government to ensure territorial and First Nation childcare agencies have “effective and accountable service delivery.”

Ottawa is currently facing a human rights complaint alleging it underfunds on reserve child and family services compared to the provinces.

The committee recommended the federal government work with municipal, provincial and territorial governments to collect police data on violence against Indigenous women that “includes an ethnicity variable.”

The RCMP is already collective missing and murdered case data from police forces across the country but it is not specific to First Nations, Metis and Inuit women.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada has already dismissed the work of the committee.

Amnesty International said in a statement that the report failed Indigenous women.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is personally against calling an inquiry and has relayed his views to AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.

  1. mwitasblog says:

    What a man, this Harper!


  2. Robert Christopher Mergupis says:

    I have never had much faith in government, issues like this I believe needs help from grassroots locals that can provide aid to these ladies 🙂


    • I agree, the government and various police agencies hold up their hands and say, “We’ve done all we can.” As one woman stated, “Look how much they spend for nothing when we are dying on the streets.” The Canadian government should be ashamed of their treatment of Indigenous people, especially women. This is a stain that dates back hundreds of years. ~ Dennis


  3. Cheryl-Lynn says:

    This is an outrage and has been shoved under the carpet for too many years!! We do a walk once a year here in Montreal and many all over the country… there are meetings, but still nothing is done!!


  4. Cheryl-Lynn says:

    Reblogged this on Stop the Stigma and commented:
    Enough is enough…when will Canadians cry out they are fed up with NO ACTION!


  5. spartacus2030 says:

    Now this is something that really concerns all of us! Harper is dismantling this country peace by peace, including our world famous Health Care System. If Canadians don’t act fast, there won’t be a ‘Canada’ to call home! Thank you for this informative article! Now I’m all fired up!


  6. Doesn’t sound much different than the crap that comes out of the Republican/Conservative/Libertarian caucus of the U.S. Congress (both the House of Representatives and the Senate). They would dissemble the entire social safety net in the USA if they had the chance — and set the country back to the late 19th/early 20th centuries. The a-holes have zero compassion for anyone but themselves. All I can say is “Karma is a Bitch” and eventually they will get theirs. Too bad they’re too narcissistic to realize it.


  7. Utterly infuriating. Thank you for posting this Dennis, and the timing is great considering yesterday was International Women’s Day. We danced with a First Nation’s group who displayed their missing on their shirts and cried for us all to help. We danced with the One Billion Rising group who pleaded for everyone to help all women throughout the world achieve equality for social and justice needs. There shouldn’t be any bloody pleading for any of this, it shouldn’t be necessary in the first place. There isn’t any ‘they’ really, they are us, and we need to just get up and show enough is enough.


  8. Ben Naga says:

    Not Like At All


  9. Dennis, I know you care about the issue of native women as victims of violence. Such women are disproportionately affected by sex trafficking. See this recent law professor blog post taking a human rights angle to the story.


    • Hi Louise, thanks very much for bringing this article to my attention. I would reblog it or promote it on Facebook and Twitter but I can’t find any links.

      In Canada the state of reservations is absolutely deplorable, to the point that the issue has been raised in the United Nations. Our government spends millions on disaster relief such as tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes. If they would only pay as much attention and funding to our own native populations.

      I certainly encourage all readers of this blog to view the article. ~ Dennis


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