Extend and Expand the Role of the MMIWG National Inquiry

MMIWG National Inquiry Commissioner Michelle Audette speaks to media in Thunder Bay
MMIWG National Inquiry Commissioner Michelle Audette speaks to media in Thunder Bay

The MMIWG National Enquiry Hearings in Thunder Bay got underway on Sunday with opening ceremonies and prayers.
The MMIWG National Enquiry Hearings in Thunder Bay got underway on Sunday with opening ceremonies and prayers.

THUNDER BAY – EDITORIAL – The National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls has been working hard. Commissioners have been hearing the truth from families of missing and murdered women and girls. It is not easy, and the Inquiry has been breaking new ground in seeking to gather the information needed to complete their report.

The National Inquiry is going to ask the federal government for an extension.

What should also be done is to expand the scope of the National Inquiry as well.

That extension and expansion should be an automatic agreement from the Trudeau Government. After all the Prime Minister has stated repeatedly that building a solid relationship with Canada’s Indigenous People is his government’s most important goal.

MMIWG National Inquiry Commissioner Michelle Audette speaks to media in Thunder Bay
MMIWG National Inquiry Commissioner Michelle Audette speaks to media in Thunder Bay

So Why Should the Process be Expanded?

First, the National Inquiry needs to be visiting the individual First Nation and Inuit communities in the far north of the country. This would allow the Commissioners to fully understand the full scope of the issue.

Now, you might be asking why they have not been doing that?

Simply put the Communities, Chiefs, and Councils in the communities, of the community members themselves, could then invite the National Inquiry into their communities. The National Inquiry cannot just show up in communities.

This would allow the National Inquiry to gather much-needed evidence and to fully gather the information needed to actually fix the problems which so many of Canada’s Indigenous families face.

The terms of reference should also be expanded to allow the National Inquiry to open cold cases if there is in the gathering of the evidence sufficient cause.

The Commissioner should also be allowed to examine some of the serious issues brought forward during the hearings.

In Thunder Bay, for example, the statement that there are $9.1 billion dollars in the INAC annual budget, but that only $4 Billion actually makes it to the grassroots peoples in the communities.

Solving the issues facing Indigenous communities means looking at the entire scale of the issues. The issues with housing, healthcare, education all impact the ability of Indigenous families to make their way in Canada.

The scope of this work means that people need to trust in the work of the Commissioners.