Families of missing, murdered indigenous women hope roundtable will lead to action

WINNIPEG -- Lorelei Williams left the first roundtable on missing and murdered indigenous women in tears after family members who had lost loved ones fought to be one of four people allowed to speak.

See Full Article

The British Columbia woman, whose aunt disappeared in 1978 and whose cousin's remains were found on the farm of convicted killer Robert Pickton, says she felt revictimized by the experience.

Williams hopes it will be different when premiers, federal and provincial ministers gather again for a second roundtable in Winnipeg. Leaders need to listen more carefully to voices like hers and do what they can to address the issue in their own jurisdictions, she says.

"Once they get to know the families and what it does to them, I feel like (they) can fight a better battle," she said Tuesday. "There is a lot of racism that has flawed cases and that needs to be addressed."

Beverley Jacobs, whose cousin was killed in 2008, was one of the four people who spoke at the first roundtable. She said the experience was horrible.

She isn't attending this roundtable, but said she hopes provincial leaders use it to look at addressing poverty, affordable housing, community safety and the disproportionate number of indigenous children in care.

"These are all issues that impact indigenous women," said Jacobs, the lead researcher on Amnesty International's report on missing and murdered indigenous women.

The roundtable begins Wednesday with a day-long, closed-door session for families only. It's to be followed by two days of meetings with premiers, ministers, indigenous leaders and families.

A lot has changed since the last roundtable a year ago when calls for a national inquiry loomed large. The Conservatives, who steadfastly refused to call one, lost the fall federal election to the Liberals, who have promised to convene one this year.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde with the Assembly of First Nations said a national inquiry is only one part of the solution.

"There's still action items that provinces and big cities can also look at," Bellegarde said. "You can't just rely on the federal government to do this."

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said her government is going beyond the inquiry to address violence against indigenous women.

She announced Tuesday that her government is spending $100 million over the next three years on a long-term anti-violence strategy, most of it to support indigenous families. She said she hopes the roundtable will result in concrete actions, including a co-ordinated public awareness campaign.

"The national inquiry is important ... but it cannot be used as an excuse for not taking action," said Wynne, who is attending the roundtable.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said the provinces each have a list of projects to be discussed and prioritized. They include engaging indigenous men in anti-violence campaigns and improving access to emergency shelters.

"There is quite a bit of motivation in the room to follow up on these things."

For federal ministers, the roundtable is a chance to consult provincial leaders about the inquiry. Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has toured the country to hear from family members about what the inquiry should look like. She said she hopes the roundtable will be a chance to get the provinces and territories on board.

"It's going to be a good discussion. I'm looking forward to it."

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said she hopes to get ideas on what action can be taken immediately.

"There obviously are some things we could be doing together right now," she said. "There is optimism from the families, but also the provinces and territories, that we're finally going to get to work together with the federal government on a real plan."

The RCMP has estimated at least 1,200 indigenous women have disappeared or been murdered since 1980. Although indigenous women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, they account for 16 per cent of female homicides and 11.3 per cent of missing women.

With files from Kristy Kirkup in Ottawa and Allison Jones in Toronto



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Corriveau sentencing on fraud conviction set for Jan. 25

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - An ex-Liberal organizer convicted of fraud related to the federal sponsorship scandal will be sentenced Jan. 25. Jacques Corriveau wasn't present in a Montreal courtroom today as lawyers finalized a division of his assets to repay the amount he owes the federal government. Source
  • Woman beaten with metal bar, home set on fire in dispute over text message

    Canada News CTV News
    KINGSTON, Ont. -- A 39-year-old man from Kingston, Ont. is facing multiple charges after allegedly beating his domestic partner with a metal bar and setting their home on fire. Kingston police say the incident began on Friday afternoon when the man became angry over a text message his partner had received. Source
  • Air Canada computer issue affects affecting booking, check-ins nationwide

    Canada News CTV News
    Air Canada says technical difficulties were affecting its booking and check-in services across Canada on Tuesday. In a statement emailed to CTVNews.ca, Air Canada spokesperson Peter Fitzpatrick confirmed that the airline was experiencing technical issues that began disrupting service on Tuesday morning. Source
  • Another woman was in the room during 'awkward' medical exam, witness testifies

    Canada News CTV News
    GATINEAU, Que. - The court martial of a former petty officer accused of breach of trust and sexual assault has been told another woman was in the room during what a female witness described as an awkward medical exam. Source
  • Grassy Narrows chief wants Trudeau's commitment to mercury cleanup

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The chief of the Grassy Narrows First Nation says he welcomes Ontario's promise to find mercury hot spots that have poisoned the water, but he wants the federal government to commit to cleaning up the contamination. Source
  • LIVE: Garland's father says his son spoke of business dispute with Liknes

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Relatives of Douglas Garland, charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the disappearances of a five-year-old boy and his grandparents, are taking the stand on the second day of his trial. Crown lawyer Vicki Faulkner told the court Monday, that four days after the disappearance of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and Nathan O’Brien, police found a smouldering burn barrel on Douglas Garland's parents' farm. Source
  • Brazil struggles to curb prison violence that has killed at least 125

    World News CTV News
    RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazilian authorities are scrambling to stop a wave of prison violence that has killed at least 125 inmates in two weeks, many with their heads cut off or their hearts and intestines ripped out. Source
  • Fla. airport shooting suspect blamed 'mind control,' Islamic State ties

    World News CTV News
    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The man suspected of fatally shooting five people and wounding six others at a Florida airport told investigators initially he was under government mind control and then claimed to be inspired by Islamic State websites and chatrooms, authorities said at a hearing Tuesday. Source
  • Turkey: Istanbul nightclub attacker confessed after capture

    World News CTV News
    ISTANBUL -- The accused perpetrator of a New Year's nightclub attack in Istanbul has confessed and his fingerprints are a match, Turkish authorities said Tuesday. They identified him as an Uzbek national who trained in Afghanistan and staged the attack for the Islamic State group. Source
  • Orlando shooter Omar Mateen’s widow faces charges tied to attack

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — The wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter was arrested Monday by the FBI, a U.S. law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The official said Noor Salman was taken into custody Monday morning in the San Francisco area and is due in court Tuesday in California. Source