MMIW inquiry: Justice system emerges as key issue in consultations
Published Friday, January 22, 2016 7:27PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 23, 2016 1:27PM EST
For the past two days, federal ministers have been meeting with community leaders and victims in Quebec during the consultation phase of the national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.
The commission is planning to investigate the fates of 1,200 women in Canada who were murdered or went missing in the last 30 years, both inside and out of native communities. They all have one thing in common: a feeling that the justice system just didn't pay enough attention.
"What we're here for is listening to family members and survivors of the murdered indiginous and murdered girls and what they invision for the inquiry," said Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Federal Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said they've often heard how distrustful native communities are toward police and the justice system.
“Yesterday, we heard of a suicide that happened when the court date was delayed and they felt justice was delayed and the victim took her own life. We also see that the sentencing seems to be different to these families, and the time served seems to be different to these families. Across the system of justice, they feel it's different,” she said.
The Assembly of First Nations, which has been asking for this public inquiry for years, is happy with the process so far.
“To me, the fact that the families have been invited to really speak about their plight before three federal ministers will certainly be helpful in establishing that trust,” said Ghislain Picard, Assembly of the First Nations Chief of Quebec and Labrador.
The meetings held this week are meant to prepare for the actual inquiry, which will be held later this year. The ministers have so far travelled to 10 different cities doing pre-inquiry work, which eight more to follow.