We need low-barrier safe spaces

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The past month has been difficult for our community. Over the span of just a few weeks, three Indigenous women have been killed. Their names are Rebecca Contois, Doris Trout, and Tessa Perry. My heartfelt sympathies go to their families, friends, and communities. Their lives were precious. They were loved.

My love and care also goes to all families who have experienced violence, who might still be searching for loved ones.

Amidst this violence and the ongoing genocide against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit individuals, our community continues to lead the way. Organizations and families are unwavering in their support for each other, care for one another, and have very clear demands — we must fulfil all 231 Calls for Justice as outlined in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This includes Call for Justice 4.7, which calls upon:

Tessa Perry was one of three Indigenous women recently killed in Winnipeg. Winnipeg Centre MP Leah Gazan writes that the federal government must act on long-term sustainable funding of Indigenous-led low-barrier shelters, safe spaces, transition homes, second-stage housing and services.

“all governments to support the establishment and long-term sustainable funding of Indigenous-led low-barrier shelters, safe spaces, transition homes, second stage housing, and services for Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people…”

Our community has been advocating for a low-barrier 24/7 safe space for women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people for over 10 years. While progress has been made, the federal government has yet to sustainably fund this desperately needed space in our city.

On Friday, May 27, the federal government announced new funding to build and repair shelters and transitional housing for women and children. More details are needed, however this government has consistently failed to meet the scale of this crisis.

It’s time to listen to survivors, families, and organisations like the National Family and Survivors Circle and act immediately to save lives. We have the solutions, what’s missing is the political will to end the violence.

There is only a short time before the House of Commons rises for the summer. In these remaining days in Ottawa, I commit to continue fighting for much needed investments in our community, including for a 24/7 low-barrier safe space and other projects that create real community safety.

Leah Gazan

Leah Gazan
Winnipeg Centre constituency report

Leah Gazan is the NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre.

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