Sunday, November 7, 2010

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

On October 29, 2010, the Conservative government announced its plan to deal with the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. There are close to 600 cases of Aboriginal women that have gone missing or murdered in this country with very few/limited investigations, unanswered questions and few services for the families of the victims.

During the 2010 Speech From The Throne and in Budget 2010, the federal government announced it would tackle this issue head on. After months of consultations and discussions with different stakeholders, a plan was announced that will:

  • invest $10 million over two years to improve community safety and to ensure that the justice system and law enforcement agencies can better respond to cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women;
  • will improve law enforcement and the justice system through:
    • A new National Police Support Centre for Missing Persons to help police forces across Canada by providing coordination and specialized support in missing persons investigations;
    • A national “tip” Web site for missing persons;
    • Enhancing the Canadian Police Information Centre database to capture additional missing persons data;
    • Amendments to the Criminal Code to streamline the warrants application process where wiretaps are required in missing person cases; and
    • A comprehensive list of best practices to help communities, law enforcement and justice partners in future work.
    The measures will also improve:
    • Federal funding for culturally appropriate victims services through provinces and territories; as well as funding for Aboriginal groups to help the families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women;
    • New awareness materials, pilot projects and new school- and community-based pilot projects targeted to young Aboriginal women; and
    • New community safety plans to be developed to enhance the safety of women living in Aboriginal communities.
In short, it is the first time any government has ever responded in any strategic way to dealing with this ever pressing issue and in order to be successful, all stakeholders mentioned above all have roles and responsibilities to fulfill. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men must also be part of the solution in the roll-out of this plan because as men, our role is to protect our women from these predators.

From 2005-2010, the Native Women's Association of Canada received approximately $5 Million dollars to initiate the research of our missing and murdered Aboriginal women. It must be noted that NWAC was the lead role and will continue to play a major part in addressing this issue as the government's plan unfolds. As a matter of fact, NWAC will receive approximately $500,000 to continue working on missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Unfortunately, the critics have already come out stating NWAC have had their buget "cut" with Liberal and NDP MP's endorsing this false position. Here are the facts: NWAC received $5 million over 5 years. The Conservative government announced $10 Million over 2 years. The question that must be answered is the following: is it more important to fully tackle this issue that includes law enforcement officials, improvement to the justice system, resources for victim's families, resources for community safety programs, awareness and education materials, the continued particpation of NWAC, Aboriginal organizations and chiefs or is it more important that NWAC retain its 1 Million dollar funding as opposed to the $500,000 that it will receive? I think the math is quite simple and I think the answer is quite simple. This is by no means a slight at NWAC because they have delivered. Rather, it's a slight at the Liberal and NDP critics who have come out swinging at the Conservative government without having allowed the plan to begin rolling out and for using this unfortunate issue as a means to take swipes at the announcement. To those critics, I say, where were you in the last 5 years, what solutions did you propose, what recommendations did you provide the government? What plan would you have in place? The easiest thing is to criticize, the hard part is to share alternative solutions, which they have not done. Point is, the Conservative government said it would deliver, it delivered.


Coreen said...

Pleased to see that the gov't is moving on this issue.

I remain skeptical, yet hopeful.

I agree that the Aboriginal men must commit to supporting the well being of our women.

Anonymous said...

Hi Patrick. This is George from FB. =)

Thanks for the link as I would not have found this blog of yours first of all.

Secondly, I am pleased to see that the Government has actually made a move and I do mean financially, to address the murdered and missing aboriginal women of Canada. Those numbers and stats look great. On paper, but in practise?

This issue is probably the most telling issue there is for the relationship that exists between government (and apparently the critics of said government) and the First Nations of Canada.

The Woman. In our First Nations cultures the Woman is fundamental to our existence. This is true of any culture really but moreso for First Nations. My culture and traditions are matrilineal meaning we get our Identity and tribe through our Mothers. I can easily point out the attmepted assimilation (something I can't readily get over) once again and state that while the legislation is no longer valid, the thought and perception that we "Indians" are a problem still exists.

If I were there to hear the comments and criticisms I would for sure have asked those critics if they felt my notion was valid or not. I would have asked them if they thought that being critical over a fiscal budget item was really the important item or do they want to continue allowing predators to think that they can attack and kill Native Woman simply because they are a Native Woman and does Canada want to allow the notion that it is okay? YOu will not get caught because Canada will not look for you? Those would have been my questions and I guarantee there would be a table thump or two. ;)

I can't help but think of my discussions I have had with you on other issues and bringing up the practises of INAC, in essence how INAC preserves its budget rather than going out and spending the budget seeing for themselves what it is they are working for. The people.

All too often when it comes to First Nations in Canada, the BUDGET is worth more than any reconciliation or recognition that can be worked toward. Men and ladies alike probably know already that the budget is more important than they are and in my mind, that lends itself to the feeling and notion of being "under the thumb" of government.

I am appalled actually by those critics that would take issue at an amount of money being put forward to tackle an issue that is for more important and in essence PREVENT the work from being done.

Coreen said...

Will it ever stop?

Another murdered Aboriginal Woman -

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