Feminism missing from consultations on murdered women's inquiry: advocates

VANCOUVER -- A chairwoman of Vancouver's annual memorial march for missing and murdered aboriginal women says she's concerned a national inquiry will leave out a crucial issue -- feminism.

See Full Article

Fay Blaney, who co-chairs the February 14th Women's Memorial March Committee said the starting point of an inquiry must be the barriers indigenous women face in Canadian society.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett is touring the country to meet with families, survivors and aboriginal representatives to hear what they want from an inquiry.

Blaney attended an all-day meeting in Vancouver last Wednesday and wants to meet with Bennett to discuss the inquiry's parameters.

"It needs to proceed from a feminist perspective. This is an issue of indigenous women's equality," she said. "I didn't hear that coming from them."

Her fears are part of a broader concern among front-line workers and advocacy groups that they are being shut out of the process. Blaney said the consultations appear to be focused on families, and while it's important for them to have a voice, they're only one perspective.

"Each one has a unique story to tell and it's instructive in terms of the data and information that comes from those stories, and it can lead to healing of the families involved," she said.

"But my position is that the women in the Downtown Eastside and other urban centres across this country are estranged from families."

Blaney's committee advocates year-round for women in the city's troubled Downtown Eastside and is one of several groups, including Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter, that have sent a letter to Bennett asking for a special meeting.

Rape Relief spokeswoman Hilla Kerner said approaching the inquiry using a feminist framework would mean examining the power relationships that have an impact on aboriginal women.

"Aboriginal women are vulnerable to male violence first and foremost because they are women, then because they are aboriginal, and then because they are poor," she said. "The intersection between colonialism and sexism plays a crucial role."

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada, is also calling on the government to hold separate meetings with front-line workers and grassroots groups.

She said she was told before the meetings started that they were for families only.

"We absolutely understand and respect the need for the families to go first," she said. "We just want to make sure that there is an opportunity for those meetings with those people who do the work on the ground."

Sabrina Williams, a spokeswoman for the ministry, said front-line organizations are invited to the meetings, which are scheduled to end in Ottawa on Feb. 15.

She said participants have stressed the need for an inquiry to have an indigenous perspective and address the root causes of violence and the effects of residential schools.

Some families have complained that the meetings are being rushed. Williams said every effort was being made to ensure relatives have as much notice as possible to participate.

"We are trying to find the balance between people who want us to get on with the inquiry but also the fact that we want to get it right," she said in a statement.

Candice Stevenson, whose mother went missing 33 years ago, said she only had a week's notice before the Vancouver meeting and she felt like she had to compete for a chance to talk.

"Everybody's rushed, rushed, rushed. People don't get to really speak their minds," she said.

But she said the government shouldn't wait for the inquiry to take action on missing and murdered women, including increasing police resources to investigate cases.

"We already know what's wrong. The violence against women, the systemic racism -- we already know those problems exist."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Biden's German Shepherd has aggressive incident and is sent back to Delaware

    World News CTV News
    The two German Shepherds belonging to U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden were returned to the Biden family home in Delaware last week after aggressive behaviour at the White House involving Major Biden, two sources with knowledge tell CNN. Source
  • Evacuations ordered after heavy rains breach dam on Maui

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- Heavy rains caused a dam to overflow on the Hawaiian island of Maui, and and nearby residents in the community of Haiku are being evacuated, county officials said Monday. The National Weather Service reported 13.2 inches (33.5 centimetres) of rain fell in the Haiku area of Maui's North Coast between 7 a.m. Source
  • 'Thinking with their hearts': Ice fishers providing meals for Winnipeg's homeless

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Anglers from a popular fishing hole in southern Manitoba are providing hot meals for Winnipeg's homeless after a bountiful season on the ice. For weeks, thousands of anglers have crowded the ice on a particular part of Lake Winnipeg near the town of Riverton, saying the fishing has been best there this year. Source
  • Man arrested in Capitol Hill attack was reportedly bodyguard for Trump confidant Roger Stone

    World News CBC News
    Two men wanted in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol were arrested over the weekend, including one who reportedly served as a bodyguard to former president Donald Trump's longtime political confidant Roger Stone, federal authorities said Monday. Source
  • International Women's Day: Can COVID-19 bring sea change to private sector, public policy?

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- When Faye Pang became pregnant while working at Uber, the company had to scramble to put together a maternity leave policy. She was the first woman at the ridesharing firm in Canada who required it, she said, and they had noprotocol in place. Source
  • Large underground party broken up by police in southeast Edmonton

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Police estimate about 200 people took part in an illegal party in southeast Edmonton early Sunday. CTV News Edmonton arrived on scene as an armada of officers pulled up to Ellwood Corner, a business plaza in Edmonton's southeast Ellerslie neighbourhood around midnight. Source
  • RNC maintains right to use Trump's name in fundraising

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The Republican National Committee is defending its right to use former U.S. President Donald Trump's name in fundraising appeals after he demanded they put an end to the practice. In a Monday letter to Trump attorney Alex Cannon, RNC chief counsel J. Source
  • Trump, RNC clash over using his name in fundraising

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The Republican National Committee is defending its right to use former U.S. President Donald Trump's name in fundraising appeals after he demanded they put an end to the practice. In a Monday letter to Trump attorney Alex Cannon, RNC chief counsel J. Source
  • Arizona man who wore horns in Capitol riot to remain jailed

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- An Arizona man who stormed the U.S. Capitol two months ago while sporting face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns will remain jailed until his trial, a federal judge ruled Monday, saying the man's willingness to resort to violence and refusal to follow police orders during the siege signal that he wouldn't follow court-ordered conditions of release. Source
  • Hillary Clinton on Meghan and Harry's interview: Women 'should not be forced into a mold that is no longer relevant'

    World News CTV News
    Hillary Clinton weighed in Monday on Oprah Winfrey's explosive interview with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and her husband, Prince Harry, offering support for Meghan and decrying the tabloids and bureaucracy that often targeted her. "I found it so heart-rending to watch," Clinton said during a Washington Post Live event on Monday, noting that she had met the pair as well as Harry's late mother, Princess Diana. Source