Beyond the National Inquiry, Cowichan-Malahat-Langford candidates say what needs to be done for Indigenous women and girls

Published on October 10, 2019

Loved ones and members of the extended Tla-o-qui-aht community held a walk for Lisa Marie Young on June 30, 17 years after the young woman went missing without a trace in Nanaimo. 

Vancouver Island, BC — 

This year the Missing and Murdered Inquiry into Indigenous Women and Girls concluded, but Aboriginal women continue to go missing and fall victim to homicide at a significantly higher rate than the Canadian average. Beyond the inquiry, what else needs to be done to make this country safer for Indigenous women?

Blair Herbert, Liberal:

Liberals are committed to ending this tragedy.  The job now is to develop a national action plan – as called for by the Inquiry – to implement its recommendations. 

Beyond the Inquiry, Blair sees two more avenues to pursue.  Firstly, as a previous RCMP officer himself, he believes the Inquiry was a wake-up call for national and local police forces, mobilizing them to improve their investigation into missing indigenous women and girls.  Secondly, he believes the Federal government needs to work to remove barriers and open doors for Aboriginal women to access education and employment, providing them greater options for their future. 

Alistair MacGregor, NDP:

Working in partnership with Indigenous women, the families of the missing and murdered, and communities, the NDP will work to implement the Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice and the calls to action brought forward by communities.

We also need to guarantee the human rights and dignity of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law. I was proud when my NDP colleague Romeo Saganash’s Bill C-262 passed unanimously in the House of Commons. It would have enshrined the United Nations Rights on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) into Canadian law. Sadly, it died in the unelected and unaccountable Senate at the time of the election.

Lydia Hwitsum, Green:

There are many recommendations that need to be prioritized and implemented.  We need to make investments that make a real difference in the lives of Indigenous women. That means listening and responding to Indigenous womens’ priorities. The Greens will implement the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as the recommendations from the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. We need to ensure we support the development of Indigenous education curricula that are language and culture specific. Ensure that every First Nations, Métis and Inuit child has access to quality educational opportunities based on the expressed cultural, political and social priorities of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit governments, following meaningful consultation. We must also educate non-Indigenous Canadians on the history, customs, traditions and cultures of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples of Turtle Island.

Conservative candidate Alana Delong did not respond to Ha-Shilth-Sa's question on this issue.