National Tragedy Death of 15 Year Old Starts Push for Change

Thousands of people came out in Winnipeg last night for a vigil for murdered and missing - Photo James Harper / Twitter
Thousands of people came out in Winnipeg last night for a vigil for murdered and missing - Photo James Harper / Twitter

Thousands of people came out in Winnipeg last night for a vigil for murdered and missing - Photo James Harper / Twitter
Thousands of people came out in Winnipeg last night for a vigil for murdered and missing – Photo James Harper / Twitter
WINNIPEG – “Once again our hearts are filled with grief and sadness as we mourn the brutal and senseless murder of an Aboriginal girl,” stated David Langtry, Acting Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission. “In a pattern that has tragically become commonplace, the body of Tina Fontaine was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg last Sunday, after being reported missing earlier this month. Barely 15, Tina was reportedly in the care of Child and Family Services”.

“Tina must not disappear into the oblivion of statistics: almost 1,200 missing and murdered aboriginal women over the past three decades,” continued Langtry. “We have a duty to ensure she leaves a legacy, and that her legacy is to bring an end to the chronic cycle of violence that rips Aboriginal women and girls from the fabric of family and community at this alarming rate”.

Not Acceptable in Canada

“This is not acceptable in a country like Canada. It is time for a full public inquiry into the root causes of so many deaths and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls. It is time for a national action plan to confront this issue”. concluded Langtry.

Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak stated, “I am very deeply saddened and hurt that another of our children has been taken in the streets of Winnipeg. I cannot put into words the difficulties we have had in trying to work with governments to move on a public inquiry plan to begin drawing these matters out of the dark corners and into a light of understanding and healing for everyone. If an inquiry saves even one life by drawing us into a better understanding of how to combat the tragedies that so deeply hurt our families, then why won’t governments at all levels step forward with us.? Federal and provincial and municipal governments have to come to the table. We need everyone to take responsibility to bring change”.

Following the discovery of the 15-year-old Anishinawbek girl’s body in a Winnipeg river, the New Democrats are again urging the Conservative government to take action and call a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. “The murder of Tina Fontaine is a national tragedy,” said NDP Status of Women critic Niki Ashton (Churchill). “There must be justice for this young woman and all missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Victims, families and communities deserve answers.”

Tina Fontaine was reported missing on August 9. Recent RCMP findings confirm that Indigenous women are seven times more likely to be victims of violence. “No human being, let alone a 15-year-old young woman, deserves to die in this way and my heart goes out to her family and community,” said NDP Aboriginal Affairs critic Jean Crowder (Nanaimo Cowichan). “It is unconscionable for the Conservatives to continue to ignore the demands for action and an inquiry.”