The Senate must amplify the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by drafting legislation based on the findings of the three-year inquest, a commissioner with inquiry told a Senate committee Monday.
Those laws should be co-developed with input from Indigenous communities, Qajaq Robinson said.
Four of the inquiry commissioners met with the standing Senate committee on Aboriginal Peoples to give it an overview of their work, including the final report’s 231 recommendations.
“We have recommendations called calls for justice,” said commissioner Marion Buller. “The largest audience would be governments … including Indigenous governments.”
Buller and Robinson were joined by commissioners Michelle Audette and Brian Eyolfson and took questions from the senators through a virtual meeting. It’s believed to be the first time the commission has addressed a Senate committee since the inquiry ended on June 30, 2019.
Co-operation with Indigenous communities
The inquiry found that “persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence” against Indigenous women and girls, its final report says.
Senator David Arnot asked the commissioners how the senate can make sure that human rights tribunals and other accountability institutions will be implemented by the federal government as recommended.
Robinson told him that it will be critical to work with Indigenous representatives as recommendations are put in place.
Representatives from Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak/Women of the Métis Nation, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada also addressed the community with concerns.
Gerri Sharpe, the president of Pauktuutit, said her organization is disappointed at the slow pace of progress since the release of the final report.
“I think the biggest point for them is to realize that there is a distinction between the needs of Inuit women versus the rest of Canada,” said Sharpe.
Sharpe participated in the MMIWG inquiry as a family member, and said that she felt optimistic that they were being heard by the members senate committee.