Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Other means to address the missing

  • Print

The immediate dismissal of a federal parliamentary committee's report on Canada's missing and murdered aboriginal women shortchanges the evidence collected that points to what should be done, now, to protect indigenous girls and women. It begins with money.

Many criticized the Tory-dominated committee for not backing the widespread demand for a national inquiry into the problem. Not everyone agrees -- a British Columbia advocacy group and the Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada both said there have been enough studies, and now it is time to attack the factors that lead to heightened risk.

Aboriginal women, disproportionately, grow up in poverty, often in homes of turmoil, and battle racism and systemic discrimination, and many live in communities where violence against women is endemic. They are three times more likely to be the victims of violence generally and far more likely to be targeted by strangers, trafficked or murdered.

Further, the committee accepted the accounts it heard that police continue to dismiss relatives' calls for help out of the belief the woman was just looking for a fix, was doing what she usually does and would turn up eventually. This, despite families telling them that such behaviour was out of character.

The Harper government rightly is refusing the demand of advocacy groups and many provinces for a national inquiry. It should heed, however, the consensus that what aboriginal communities need is adequate funding to areas that can protect women, keeping them from risk -- schools, robust preventive child-welfare programs, adequate women's shelters, second-stage housing on reserves and Inuit communities, and programs in communities where violence is endemic. The problem was described in stark numbers: There are 633 First Nations communities and only 44 shelters across Canada.

Attorneys general must act on accounts that police continue to downplay reports of missing women. An audit of cases could reveal whether and why delays in investigations exist. The fact that aboriginal women, especially those involved in the sex trade, are at heightened risk should speak to speedier, not delayed, action when they go missing.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 11, 2014 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

The Folk Festival Experience 2014

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • July 1, 2012 - 120701  -   Canada Day fireworks at The Forks from the Norwood Bridge Sunday, July 1, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
  • A pelican comes in for a landing Wednesday afternoon on the Red River at Lockport, Manitoba - Standup photo- June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you miss Grandma Elm?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google