Northwest MLAs call for action on Missing Women’s Commission’s recommendations

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PRINCE RUPERT— The call from a United Nations official for an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada is a strong reminder of the necessity of implementing the recommendations of B.C.’s Missing Women’s Commission, say B.C.’s Northwest MLAs.

“As we hear calls for an inquiry into violence against Aboriginal women across Canada it is more important than ever to demand that commissions result in action,” said North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice. “It has been almost a year since B.C.’s Missing Women’s Commission delivered its final report and nothing has been done to make the Highway of Tears safer.”

This week, James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, called on the Canadian government to investigate violence against Aboriginal women.

Doug Donaldson, the New Democrat critic for Aboriginal affairs and the MLA for Stikine, noted that it hasn’t even been a year since a commission in B.C. delivered their report into B.C.’s missing and murdered women and the B.C. Liberal government has already pulled down the Commission’s website, leaving a dead link on their own press release.

“What’s the point of having a commission if the government isn’t going to act on the recommendations in a timely way? These recommendations could make the difference between life and death for marginalized women,” said Donaldson.

“The B.C. Liberals said they would take immediate action after the Missing Women’s Commission released their recommendations. So far the only apparent action they have taken is to bury the Commission’s website.”

Skeena MLA Robin Austin noted that holding a commission and then doing nothing to implement the recommendations undermines confidence in the government.

“It was bad enough that the B.C. Liberal government refused full participation to all the groups that were given legal standing at the inquiry,” said Austin. “It does nothing to build trust with First Nations when the government holds an inquiry, shuts out marginalized voices from participating in it, and then does nothing with the few glimmers of hope that still manage to emerge from a flawed process.”

B.C.’s New Democrats are calling on the provincial government to honour the memories of the mothers, sisters, and daughters that were taken from their friends, families and loved ones by acting immediately to implement the recommendations of the Missing Women’s Commission report.