Session may end before bill on MMIWG licence plate passes

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A bill to create a specialty licence plate to recognize missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people has moved closer to becoming law.

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A bill to create a specialty licence plate to recognize missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people has moved closer to becoming law.

Point Douglas MLA Bernadette Smith’s private member’s bill passed second reading as supporters watched from the gallery at the Manitoba legislature.

Bill 241 would amend legislation to establish a licence plate with the abbreviation MMIWG2S and either a red hand or red dress. The plate would be available for purchase with $30 from each sale going towards charity.

Danielle DaSilva / Winnipeg Free Press

Point Douglas MLA Bernadette Smith hopes her private member’s bill establishing a license plate to raise money for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people receives support from government and moves to committee stage. Smith was joined by family members and advocates at the Legislature as the bill passed second reading on Thursday.

“We’ve had more than 1,000 people reach out that want this licence plate,” Smith told reporters on Thursday afternoon. She was joined by more than a dozen people who support for the bill.

“We see the Jets (plates), we see the Humane Society (plates), and you know I love the Jets, I love the Humane Society, I support that too, but we also need to support our MMIWG2S families in terms of creating awareness, making sure that other young girls are supported and certainly supporting those families that have one less parent,” Smith said.

The NDP MLA said she hopes government will support the bill and fast-track the process for it to become law by next Thursday. The bill must be passed and received royal assent before the current session concludes on Nov. 3.

Smith said she has received no indication the Progressive Conservative government will get on board.

Marci Lagos Baptiste, who sported a red dress pin on her shirt, said the plate is an important way to raise awareness for MMIWG2S.

“If somebody on the street sees a licence plate with (MMIWG)or a red dress, they’ll question and they’ll remember those girls,” Lagos Baptiste said.

The PC government said it supports the idea but details must be worked out, such as setting up a group to handle the money raised.

“They have to have a sponsor. You need to know where the funds are going,” said government house leader Kelvin Goertzen.

“I think what we would commit to is looking to see if this can be advanced in the relatively near future, but we are up against a timeline of about four sessional days (before the November break).”

— with files from The Canadian Press

danielle.dasilva@freepress.mb.ca

Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva
Reporter

Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.

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