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Harper rejects call for national inquiry, calls Fontaine's death a crime

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper today rejected a renewed call for an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

In the wake of the death of Manitoba teen Tina Fontaine, whose body was pulled out of the Red River on Sunday, Harper was asked at a press conference whether an inquiry would be warranted.

Harper told reporters in Whitehorse that the issue has been studied. He also extended his sympathies to the Fontaine family.

Harper said Canadians should not view the 15-year-old Anishinaabe girl’s death as a sociological issue, calling it a crime.

Winnipeg police continue to investigate the homicide.

Police have confirmed Fontaine was dead before her body was placed in the Red River. She was last seen Aug. 8 after running away from her Child and Family Services placement and reported missing the following day.

Her remains were found in a bag, floating near the Alexander Docks, last Sunday.

When told of the prime minister’s comments, Manitoba Minister of Family Services Kerri Irvin-Ross, went quiet on the phone and then said, "There have been a number of people asking for a national inquiry. It’s a national issue – the loss of aboriginal girls and women in Canada -- and we need to understand what’s happening."

When asked if she was surprised or flummoxed by Harper’s comments, she said she was shocked.

 

History

Updated on Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 4:39 PM CDT: Adds reaction from Kerri Irvin-Ross

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