Feds Target Law Breakers Not Prevention in Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women
OTTAWA – POLITICS – Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, and the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, joined with Aboriginal leaders and representatives of provincial and territorial governments at a national roundtable to discuss how best to work together to prevent and address violence against Aboriginal women and girls.
However there was, despite continued efforts by relatives, families and First Nations, no movement toward a national inquiry with the participation of the federal government.
“Canada is a country where those who break the law are punished, where penalties match the severity of crimes committed, and where the rights of victims are recognized. Our Government’s Action Plan brings together a range of measures to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls, because these acts of violence simply will not be tolerated,” stated Dr. K. Kellie Leitch Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women.
“Our Government recognizes that addressing violence against Aboriginal women is a shared responsibility that requires commitment to action from all partners, including at the community level. By meeting today and continuing to work together, we are sending a strong message that these abhorrent acts of violence will not be tolerated,” said Bernard Valcourt Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
The Ministers welcomed the participation of the families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls who shared their stories during the course of the day. The Ministers expressed the Government of Canada’s deep concern about the high rates of violent crime perpetrated against Aboriginal women, and the devastating impact this violence has on victims, their families and communities. They welcomed the willingness of roundtable participants to continue collaborating on taking these actions, and to meet again one year from now to discuss progress being made.
Ministers Leitch and Valcourt also emphasized that the Government of Canada has consistently stated that now is the time for action, not further study through a national inquiry on this issue. They highlighted Government of Canada actions to prevent violence, support victims and protect Aboriginal women and girls. Minister Leitch specifically underscored the Government of Canada’s Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls, which represents a total investment of close to $200 million over five years in order to continue to take action. The Government of Canada has also enacted over 30 measures into law since 2006 to make communities safer by holding violent criminals accountable for their crimes, giving victims of crime a stronger voice, and increasing the efficiency of the Justice system.
The Government of Canada recognizes that no organization or level of government alone can eradicate this violence. This work must be done in partnership across federal organizations, with provinces and territories, and through the leadership of Aboriginal communities and organizations.
The Federal Government Asserts:
– The RCMP’s National Operational Overview, released on May 16, 2014, indicated that 225 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls were unsolved at the time of publication. The Overview provides critical information on the nature and extent of the issue.
– In September 2014, the Government of Canada released the Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls, which includes a range of measures to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls including the development of more community safety plans across Canada.
– As part of the Action Plan, the Government of Canada is providing ongoing funding for family violence prevention activities and its shelters, to help address the issue of violence against Aboriginal women and girls. This is part of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s (AANDC) Family Violence Prevention Program.
– The Government of Canada is continuing with investments that contribute to better safety and security of on reserve residents, particularly women and children. This complements the work of provinces and territories, police and the justice system, Aboriginal families, communities and organizations. Beginning April 1, 2015 the annual program investments for AANDC’s Family Violence Prevention Program will total $31.74 million.
Under the Action Plan, support will be made available for projects to address violence against Aboriginal women and girls. On April 1, the Government of Canada will launch a new website that will allow organizations to learn how to apply for this funding.