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Friday, January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

Davis Writes Federal Minister Demanding Meetings in NL to Design Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

 

Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, has written to Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, expressing disappointment that Newfoundland and Labrador has been left off the list of meetings to seek public input on the design and scope of the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Davis is demanding that meetings be added in this province.

 

In the letter, Davis said: “A primary reason for holding this inquiry is to shine a spotlight on the tragedies, the people and the communities that have been for too long ignored so that justice can be served. It is inexcusable that the schedule of meetings ignores our province, where so many of these tragedies have occurred. Indeed, the oversight is all the more difficult to understand, in light of the fact that the late Loretta Saunders, whose tragic death was the galvanizing event that triggered this inquiry, was an Indigenous woman who called Newfoundland and Labrador home. A significant proportion of Newfoundland and Labrador’s people identify as Indigenous, and they have an interest in being part of the process of designing and scoping this inquiry.”

 

“Many of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples live in rural communities, and many of those communities in our province are particularly remote. To be effective, the inquiry must go to the places where people live. The people of these rural communities will surely tell you this, and explain why, if they are given the opportunity to be heard in their communities during the inquiry’s development phase.”

 

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition

 

(709) 729 6105 heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

Backgrounder

 

Below is the text of the letter to the Minister:

 

January 21, 2016

 

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, MP

 

Dear Minister:

 

I urge the Government of Canada to schedule meetings in Newfoundland and Labrador as part of the process of developing a national inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

 

Your department’s website states: “The Government of Canada believes that an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls can only be designed after hearing from those directly affected. The government is holding meetings across Canada with survivors, family members and loved ones of victims, as well as national Aboriginal, provincial, and territorial representatives to seek their views on the design and scope of the inquiry.” However, the list of inquiry design meetings excludes Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

A primary reason for holding this inquiry is to shine a spotlight on the tragedies, the people and the communities that have been for too long ignored so that justice can be served. It is inexcusable that the schedule of meetings excludes our province, where so many many of these tragedies have occurred. Indeed, the oversight is all the more difficult to understand, in light of the fact that the late Loretta Saunders, whose tragic death was the galvanizing event that triggered this inquiry, was an Indigenous woman who called Newfoundland and Labrador home. A significant proportion of Newfoundland and Labrador’s people identify as Indigenous, and they have an interest in being part of the process of designing and scoping this inquiry.

 

Many of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples live in rural communities, and many of those communities in our province are particularly remote. To be effective, the inquiry must go to the places where people live. The people of these rural communities will surely tell you this, and explain why, if they are given the opportunity to be heard in their communities during the inquiry’s development phase. Please take this into account as you revise your schedule of meetings.

 

I am reprinting the schedule of meetings from your government’s website. I look forward to hearing when meetings will be scheduled in Newfoundland and Labrador’s communities.

 

http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1451512439995/1451512465810

 

Here is the list of meetings scheduled for 2016, last updated January 11, 2016:

 

Ottawa, Ontario: December 11, 2015

 

Ottawa, Ontario: December 16, 2015

 

Thunder Bay, Ontario: January 6, 2016

 

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories: January 8, 2016

 

Whitehorse, Yukon: January 11, 2016

 

Vancouver, British Columbia: January 13, 2016

 

Prince George, British Columbia: January 15, 2016

 

Halifax, Nova Scotia: January 20, 2016

 

Québec City, Québec: January 21, 2016

 

Montréal, Québec: January 22, 2016

 

Iqaluit, Nunavut: January 29, 2016

 

Toronto, Ontario: February 5, 2016

 

Winnipeg, Manitoba: February 8, 2016

 

Regina, Saskatchewan: February 9, 2016

 

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: February 10, 2016

 

Edmonton, Alberta: February 11, 2016

 

Calgary, Alberta: February 12, 2016

 

Ottawa, Ontario: February 15, 2016

 

PAUL DAVIS

 

Leader of the Official Opposition

 

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