Northern NDP MP joins call for expanding MMIWG visits into Northern SK
- EFN Staff | April 27, 2018
The NDP Member of Parliament for Northern Saskatchewan is calling for the Liberal government to expand the public hearings of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) national inquiry into northern Saskatchewan. NDP Georgina Jolibois’s office released a media release on April 16th asking for families and survivors in Northern Saskatchewan can share their truths.
“Their tone has completely changed,” said Jolibois in a media release. “They were open and willing to come to our communities to listen to the stories of Northern Saskatchewan. My office worked with the inquiry to provide the names of affected individuals, participants, and experts as they requested, but they never followed through. Northern families are not getting any answers from the government or the inquiry. They’ve left the families hanging.”
From November 21-23 in Saskatoon, a public hearing for the inquiry was held where families had the opportunity to share their stories. But not all families were able to attend. Those living in rural and remote northern communities were unable to make the trip or didn’t have the resources to attend. There were promised-hearings to be held in La Loche, La Ronge, and Meadow Lake but never occurred, according to the news release.
Michele Audette, who is one of the MMIWG inquiry commissioners, said she felt sensitive about Jolibois’ statement.
“We were either committed to this inquiry way before it was put in place. So, I was very pleased to see her statement. I feel the same,” she said. “I understood the frustration…even myself, I thought that after the nomination - boom - we would be ready to start within three months. But that wasn’t the case.”
Audette hopes they can continue their mandate to ensure that people’s stories who registered can be heard. The inquiry started in September 2016 and was expected to wrap up this year but with the call for the extension, it is unknown if the request will be accepted or not.
She added the Chief Commissioner Marion Buller is wanting all four commissioners to request a meeting with the Prime Minister’s office in regards to the extension.
“You have to inquire, examine, and study everything across Canada…the report that we are presenting to you won't be the report that I was hoping to sign,” she said. “A real report where we take the time to examine and make strong recommendations. Everything will be weak.”
The Inquiry has requested a 2-year extension to continue the public hearings, but so far, the government has not commented on whether that extension will be granted.
Eagle Feather News has not received a response yet from the Liberal government to comment on the matter.