Ridiculousness to the max

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Unfortunately this a more common sight than ever before.

Unfortunately this a more common sight than ever before.

The need for an inquiry

Article: Robyn Tocker – A&C Editor

As of March 31, 2010, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) says there are over 582 missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. Sixty-seven per cent are murder cases (death as the result of homicide or negligence). Twenty per cent are cases of missing women or girls.

Four per cent are cases of suspicious death — deaths regarded as natural or accidental by police, but considered suspicious by family or community members, and nine per cent are cases where the nature of the case is unknown — it is unclear whether the woman was murdered, is missing or died in suspicious circumstances. Just let these numbers sink in for a minute.

This gets my blood boiling. We’re a first-world country with enough common sense to know something is wrong with this situation, yet it keeps happening. The number of missing and murdered women hasn’t decreased over the years. With Aboriginal women making up three per cent of Canada’s female population yet adding up to 10 per cent of female homicides, something is seriously wrong with how these cases are being handled.

You would think the federal government would be all over a chance to solve such a huge problem. On March 7, “a long-awaited report from MPs on the Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women tabled [March 7] makes 16 recommendations, but does not call on the federal government to launch a public inquiry,” says a CBC report by Susana Mas.

Now why, I ask, on God’s green earth, would the report not call on the federal government to launch an inquiry that could save women’s lives across Canada? Perhaps they don’t think the problem is serious enough. Read the first paragraph again. Do you think it’s serious?

The CBC article discussed a few of the 16 recommendations made in the report. One is “the creation of a public awareness and prevention campaign created by the federal government in conjunction with the provinces, territories and municipalities” and “the implementation of a national DNA-based missing person’s index” along with “the possibility of collecting police data on violence against aboriginal women and girls that includes an ethnicity variable.”

It isn’t that these aren’t good ideas, but they have already been done before, or tried to be done. They, along with the status quo, simply aren’t working, says Jean Crowder the aboriginal affairs critic for the NDP and vice-chair of the special committee whom the CBC spoke to.

“What we saw today in the House of Commons was a report tabled by the Conservatives that basically said the status quo is OK,” says Crowder.

In my opinion, the government is incredibly naïve. What do they think will happen if we just keep shoving this subject under the rug? That the magic problem-solving fairy will just swoop down and save our Aboriginal women from this horrendous crime? If only.

A national inquiry needs to be done and it needs to be done now. Missing and murdered Aboriginal women need to be taken seriously. As a third-wave feminist, I can’t think of something that fits better into our structure than this.

Image: Rebecca J. Moat

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