Through rain and snow, crowds march for missing and murdered aboriginal women

Sombre marches were held in several Canadian cities Sunday to commemorate the country’s missing and murdered indigenous women and draw attention to the countless unsolved tragedies.

See Full Article

It’s been more than 20 years since the first Women's Memorial March was held in Vancouver, and this year’s rally comes at a moment some advocates consider a major turning point.

Under the new Liberal government in Ottawa, the first phase of a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women is underway. A pre-inquiry process is expected to wrap up on Monday.

It’s the first time the march has been held since the government launched a national inquiry. Former prime minister Stephen Harper repeatedly dismissed calls for an inquiry.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who herself is aboriginal, spoke at Vancouver’s march and identified two key priorities the federal government has pinpointed.

“To find justice -- some measure of justice -- for the murdered and missing indigenous women and girls, and to collectively work to find solutions to ensure that this tragedy does not continue,” Wilson-Raybould said.

The RCMP has identified 1,181 cases of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. Advocates say that figure, released in 2014, continues to grow.

For some, the march carried a more personal significance. Sophie Merasty marched to honour her sister Rose Leana Merasty, who was killed in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside more than two decades ago.

“If it was possible, I would like the inquiry to look at not just her, but to open cases that are cold cases, dead cases, of missing and murdered aboriginal women,” Merasty told CTV News.

With the national inquiry moving forward, march organizers used the opportunity to highlight ways they think the government should lead the investigation.

Fay Blaney, who is on the committee that organizes the Vancouver march, said the inquiry should include consultation with the victims’ families, women’s groups and provincial and territorial governments.

And while Blaney said the march “is significant every year,” she doesn’t need to look far back to remember feeling as though the issue was being ignored by the government.

“I recall sitting here about four or five years ago, maybe longer, saying that there needs to be a national inquiry,” she said.

In Toronto, a similar march wrapped through the city’s streets before ending at police headquarters – a gesture meant to highlight the city’s still unsolved cases of missing and murdered indigenous women. In Winnipeg, butterflies were carried through the streets as symbols of transformation.

With a report from CTV’s Melanie Nagy


Latest Canada & World News

  • Bulldozers start demolishing Calais migrant camp

    World News CTV News
    CALAIS, France -- Bulldozers have started demolishing the makeshift migrant camp in the French port city of Calais, one day after authorities declared it empty. Work intensified on Thursday to remove the tents and shelters, shops and restaurants at the site, until recently a sprawling temporary home to thousands of people trying to go to Britain. Source
  • UNICEF calls airstrike on school a potential war crime

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT - The UN Children's agency called the airstrikes in Syria's rebel-held northern Idlib province a day earlier an "outrage", suggesting it may be the deadliest attack on a school since the country's war began nearly six years ago. Source
  • British economy didn't take a hit in 1st quarter since Brexit vote

    World News CBC News
    Britain's economy grew more than expected in the third quarter despite uncertainty in the aftermath of the vote to leave the European Union. The Office of National Statistics said Thursday that Britain's economy grew by a quarterly rate of 0.5 per cent in the July-September period. Source
  • Why Donald Trump's path to win the Keystone State runs uphill

    World News CBC News
    A light rain drizzled down on Donald Trump supporters as they boarded a bus in a grocery store parking lot in York, Pa. Near the back, George Flinn sat with his wife and said he was looking forward to the rally he was going to for Mike Pence, the running mate of the Republican candidate for the U.S. Source
  • What's happening in Muskrat Falls? Here's a primer

    Canada News CBC News
    The fight over the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador appears to have stopped short of reaching a crisis point — including fears around the fate of three protesters staging a hunger strike — for now. Source
  • CMHC plays catch-up with vaguely alarming house price warning: Don Pittis

    Canada News CBC News
    Warnings about the Canadian property market are nothing new. International business publications and global banks have been calling it a bubble for years. Nobody listened. Now that the Crown corporation that insures residential mortgages, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, has added its voice with what turns out to be a mushy and moderate warning, will anybody listen? Source
  • Justin Trudeau protest marks 'turning point' for frustrated youth

    Canada News CBC News
    Tuesday's protests against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reflect a growing discontent over a lack of Liberal action on affordable education and jobs for young Canadians, youth leaders say. And they warn that more demonstrations are likely on the way. Source
  • Gingrich is above discussing sex lives of politicians? That's a howler: Keith Boag

    World News CBC News
    With stunning hypocrisy Newt Gingrich slammed FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly Tuesday night for, in his view, putting prurience ahead of public policy in her coverage of the U.S. presidential race. Gingrich scolded Kelly for framing her question about Donald Trump's nosedive in opinion polls around whether the Republican nominee is a sexual predator. Source
  • Early voting shows good news for Clinton in key battlegrounds

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - Millions of votes that have been cast already in the U.S. presidential election point to an advantage for Hillary Clinton in critical battleground states. Data compiled by The Associated Press also show signs of Democratic strength in traditionally Republican territory. Source
  • Montreal borough to adopt bylaw in bid to stem tide of gentrification

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - A gritty Montreal neighbourhood with roots that date back to the industrialization of Canada is trying to stop itself from turning into an enclave of trendy, upscale restaurants and little else. A zoning bylaw set for a final vote on Tuesday would prevent new restaurants from setting up within 25 metres of an existing establishment. Source