KENORA – Open letter from NDP MPP Sarah Campbell (Kenora-Rainy River) calling for an inquest into the death of Azraya Ackabee-Kokopenace.
This letter follows up on a question MPP Campbell recently asked in the Legislature: https://youtu.be/VIYe74qwbBQ.
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
56 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2S3
Re: Coroner’s inquest into the death of Azraya Ackabee-Kokopenace
Dear Minister Coteau,
Congratulations on your new role as Minister of Children and Youth Services.
I am writing to you today as a follow-up to the question I recently asked in the Legislature on the need for a Coroner’s inquest into the death of Azraya Ackabee-Kokopenace.
As you know, in April of this year, Azraya Ackabee-Kokopenace, a fourteen year-old girl and member of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, was apprehended by police. Later that evening, she walked away from the Lake of the Woods Hospital in Kenora. She was found dead two days later.
This has left many questions with her family, friends, and the community of Grassy Narrows. It is heartbreaking for any parent to know that their child can simply walk away, never to be seen alive again, when they were supposedly in care of child services and the hospital. I cannot begin to understand what the community and her loved ones are feeling right now.
However, what we can do as legislators is ensure there is justice for Azraya’s family.
I am asking you to commit to bring the Ackabee-Kokopenace family and her community of Grassy Narrows some peace by supporting their call for a Coroner’s Inquest.
I do not believe this is asking too much. In fact, as you are aware, all youth deaths under unexplained circumstances are mandated to have a Coroner’s inquest.
Furthermore, the Ackabee-Kokopenace family’s call for a coroner’s inquest has the support of the Grand Council Treaty #3, the Chief and Council of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, and the Grassy Narrows Youth Organization.
Please consider moving towards a Coroner’s inquest so that Azraya’s family gets the justice they deserve.
I look forward to your timely reply to my inquiry on behalf of my constituents.
Sarah Campbell, MPP
cc: Premier Kathleen Wynne
Minister David Zimmer, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Minister David Orazietti, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services