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2014-08-19 at 16:23

Inquiry calls renewed

Ontario Native Women
Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
Ontario Native Women's Association executive director Erin Corston.
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By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

THUNDER BAY -- The push for a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women needs to continue, says the executive director of the Ontario Native Women’s Association

Erin Corston on Tuesday said this weekend’s murder of a 15-year-old Aboriginal girl in Winnipeg is a tragedy that has occurred too often over the past 30 years.

“We can talk about it until we’re blue in the face but how many is enough? How many will be enough until somebody finally takes some action and wants to look into it on a deeper level and look into why these things are happening and why Aboriginal women continue to experience violence,” Corston said Tuesday.

“It’s sad. It’s a tragedy.”

She added she has lost all faith in the current federal government taking any action.

Calls for a public inquiry have renewed across the country earlier this week after the murder of 15-year-old Tina Fonatine in Winnipeg. The body of the girl was found in the Red River on Sunday.

This latest case comes months after the country’s national police force uncovered the full scope of the issue.

The RCMP released a report in May, detailing 1,181 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women across the country since 1980.

The report also disclosed that 16 per cent of female murder victims and 11 per cent of missing women are Aboriginal, despite making up less than five per cent of the general population.

Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy on Tuesday also reiterated his frequent calls for a public inquiry.

“Enough is enough,” Beardy said in a statement. “I am not sure who else besides the Conservative government doesn’t want a national inquiry. First Nation leaders and the Premiers unanimously back this call and the United Nations has called on Canada to support an inquiry.”

Those calls might get another local push next week.

The city’s Crime Prevention Council will be appearing before next Monday’s council meeting, recommending council support a resolution calling for a national inquiry and that the city’s Inter-Governmental Affairs Committee pick it up and further the push.

The resolution contains a provision that letters be sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of Justice Peter McKay and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Bernard Valcourt, as well as local MPs Bruce Hyer and John Rafferty.

Crime Prevention Council chair Tom Walters said the hope is that a collection of municipalities will follow suit and create national pressure.

“(Our hope) is that they start to ask some of those questions so people in our community feel we are concerned and caring about Aboriginal people and the issues that are affecting them,” Walters said.

“The more as a public and concerned citizens we are able to raise issues and bring it to the attention of the government of the day, our hope is they will take this matter seriously.”

Seven or eight communities with crime prevention councils have already taken the action, he added.

Corston supports the resolution and is hopeful Mayor Keith Hobbs and the rest of council will agree and pass it.

“I like it because it is action oriented and it addresses some of the jurisdiction because it will be forwarded to the federal government. I think it’s a good step,” she said.

“We have incidents of violence happening on a daily basis here in Thunder Bay.”


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Comments

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eventscentre says:
This is a good ideal, but didn't NAN chiefs turn down an offer for a meeting about First Nations problems in Thunder Bay a month ago?
8/19/2014 5:58:11 PM
Melvin Pitt-Balsam says:
"Enough is enough" indeed,Chief Beardy.

Even by the usual standards of mayhem in Winnipeg,a body being pulled out of the Red River is a new low.Unfortunately,it's not a question of if,but when,a similar tragedy will take place here.The same ingredients exist for First Nations youth in our city...an endless round of foster homes or care under various Family Services...what kind of life is that for a kid?Who could blame someone for running away?

The hand-wringing and finger-pointing from the usual suspects,however,is grating.It doesn't take much to imagine what the "root causes" of her murder and that of other aboriginal women might be.When will so-called leaders have the bravery to address the faults in their own communities?What do they think a National Inquiry will do to prevent their women from being murdered that they themselves should be doing?

NAN leaders said they were willing to die in the defence of their land.How about showing the same dedication First Nations women?
8/20/2014 9:07:47 AM
mitsukosouma says:
NAN is comprised of 49 first nations communities, there are a little over 600 first nation communities in canada, and one group like NAN does not speak for each community so that point really is moot. i dont even see why you brought it up, other than to derail the message this article is sending. do you even know what ONWA is?

maybe your "giant heart" is getting in the way of looking at the world around you. is it really that hard to maybe learn stuff about other people/groups instead of assuming your way through life about them?
8/20/2014 9:13:35 AM
eventscentre says:
Respectfully....I was being logical. You missed the part where I said that the article made sense to me, and you automatically got defensive. Let's have an enquiry about missing and murdered First Nations women AND discuss the problems we have in Thunder Bay. Yes, my heart is a GIANT
8/20/2014 9:53:18 AM
ou812 says:
What would an inquiry do other than cost millions and millions of dollars? Everyone knows why First Nations women are killed or missing. They tend to be in more dangerous situations. The reason they are in dangerous situations all boils down to parenting in the end. First Nations leaders should be the ones responsible for educating and supporting their young parents
8/20/2014 9:17:15 AM
jamisuplate says:
We are talking about the brutal murder of a 15-year-old girl. It's heartbreaking and slap in the face to all Canadians regardless of race. If anything including a National Inquiry can help, let's support it and stop fingerprinting and thinking First Nations people are less than everyone else! Only in Thunder Bay would you get comments like this.
8/20/2014 9:45:49 AM
bobguy says:
I have to agree with the above comments. I do not believe for the most part First Nation women are being targeted because of their race, culture or ethnicity. They are a high risk group that comes from poverty, substance abuse which are a result of a disturbed and troubled history that has been documented extensively.

Leaders should be working to educate the youth, create employment opportunities and provide effective substance abuse programs to get aboriginal women off the fringes of society and into the mainstream where the risk of falling victim to abuse and murder are far less.

Otherwise the leadership can call for an inquiry, a study, a report ask for appologies for past attrocities without actually dealing with the problem at hand.
8/20/2014 9:53:02 AM
keiths31 says:
There is far too much finger pointing and no acceptance of blame. It is a tragedy that this young woman was murdered. It makes my heart break. But pointing fingers are any level of government is just passing the buck.

Instead of more inquiries, let's put the money that would have been spent on that into prevention and crime solving.
8/20/2014 11:25:56 AM
Tannoy says:
How about an inquiry into all missing and murdered women?
8/20/2014 11:32:46 AM
Dan dan says:
There is a misconception with this issue that cases involving murdered aboriginal women are going unsolved.

The fact is that solve rates for murdered women are about 9/10, both for aboriginal and non-aboriginal women. The police are doing a very good job solving these crimes. People need to remember that.
8/20/2014 4:19:49 PM
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