How can we make Canada safer for Aboriginal women? Courtenay-Alberni candidates give their answers

Published on October 10, 2019
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?

Byron Horner, Conservative:

In partnership with Indigenous peoples, a new Conservative government will develop and implement a National Action Plan, to advance reconciliation, address violence and achieve measurable improvements in the day-to-day lives of Indigenous women and girls. Examples of recommendations that could meaningfully improve the lives of Indigenous women and girls:

  • Standardization of protocols for policies and practices that ensure that all cases are thoroughly investigated.
  • Establish a national task force to review and, if required, to reinvestigate cases across Canada.
  • Ensure protection orders are available, accessible, promptly issued and effectively serviced and resourced to protect victims.

Jonah Gowans, Liberal:

The Inquiry lays out 190 pages worth of recommendations. To start I think any leader should read the entire report and be prepared to work to fulfill every recommendation in there as the report is well thought out. I think fundamentally what the report shows is how systemic violence against aboriginal women is. So to make Canada safer for Aboriginal women you need to value Aboriginal women. Systemic violence means the system allows it. If Aboriginal Women are valued society would not allow violence on this level to exist. So to start, every leader needs to value Aboriginal Women. 

Sean Wood, Green:

The Inquiry’s Calls for Justice require transformative legal and social changes to resolve this crisis. Greens will fully implement the recommendations of the Inquiry as well as the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Greens will develop a comprehensive Canada-wide plan of action – with a timetable and dedicated funding – to eliminate violence against women, girls and gender-diverse people in collaboration with women’s and Indigenous organizations. Greens will address the root causes of violence and ensure equitable access to basic rights such as housing, education, and health care, and secure transportation to rural and remote communities.

Gord Johns, NDP:

Beyond acting on the Inquiry’s calls for justice, all governments must respect solutions from self-determining nations and work together towards the implementation of their action plans. These plans will certainly include both a serious examination of fundamental causes of violence against women and massive investment in housing, day care, jobs and family support services. Importantly, Canada must address racism and bias towards Indigenous women within its education, health care and justice systems. All children should learn to celebrate cultural diversity at the earliest age. Similarly, cultural safety must be assured for Indigenous people by the RCMP and other service providers.