PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said that his government will conduct a thorough review of the final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and develop and implement a National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQ and two-spirit people.
“Since the Inquiry’s launch, we have taken steps to address early recommendations, honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, their families, and survivors, and take action on issues reflected in the Calls to Justice. We are working with Indigenous communities to improve health and wellness by investing in essential infrastructure, including housing, and eliminating boil water advisories. We are also working together to better support inherent jurisdiction of Indigenous peoples in areas like education, governance, and child and family services.
“We also recently introduced legislation to protect, promote, and revitalize Indigenous languages, and we are working to reform the criminal justice system to make sure Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ and two-spirit people receive the full benefit and protection of the law. Measures like these help tackle the systemic causes of violence that put Indigenous women and girls at risk, close the unacceptable gaps that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and move us closer toward a Canada that is safer and more just for all.”
Trudeau noted: “The Inquiry is a result of the work of many individuals and organizations who advocated tirelessly for Indigenous women and girls, and Indigenous LGBTQ and two-spirit people – and continue to do so today. Facing the hardest of truths is a necessary step to addressing them – and moving forward together.”
CONSERVATIVE Party Leader Andrew Scheer said in a statement:
“Today, my thoughts are with the families of the victims, the survivors, and the many communities that have felt the pain of these tragedies.
“Canada’s Conservatives support the process of reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Under my leadership, a Conservative government will develop and implement a National Action Plan, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, to advance reconciliation, address violence and achieve measurable improvements in the day-to-day lives of Indigenous women and girls.
“There are a number of ‘Calls to Justice’ in today’s report that could meaningfully improve the lives of Indigenous women and girls, including the standardization of protocols so all cases are thoroughly investigated and establishing a national task force to review and, if required, to reinvestigate cases across Canada.
“Conservatives will carefully review the details of this final report and continue to hold the Trudeau government to account to ensure that the Inquiry’s report results in closure, peace and solutions for the victims’ families.
“May today mark another important step in the reconciliation process, towards a safe and just Canada for all.”
B.C. Premier John Horgan said in a statement: “”As British Columbians and Canadians receive this final report of the national inquiry investigating the disproportionate levels of racialized, sexualized and systemic violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit peoples, we recognize the enormous courage of the survivors and families who have brought us to this moment.
“There is no statement I can make that will do justice to your lived experiences, or the pain you have endured. It has taken immense courage and leadership to share the truth of the trauma that you, your families and your communities have experienced and continue to experience. In honour of the women, girls and two-spirit peoples who have been stolen and those who have survived, we are committed to learning from your stories, to taking action and to enacting change.
“This report brings to the forefront the magnitude of the gendered impacts of colonial violence, one so severe the inquiry has called it a ‘Canadian genocide.’ We will be reviewing the report and recommendations in detail and considering them along with historic recommendations from survivors, families and communities, and the work currently underway in B.C. – as well as our government’s broader commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
“Dismantling the underlying and systemic issues that result in Indigenous women experiencing violence at a much higher rate than non-Indigenous women is fundamental to our government’s work toward true and lasting reconciliation. We are actively working in collaboration with Indigenous partners and communities to build relationships based on the inherent right to self-determination and we believe that this is an important part of addressing the conditions that result in violence.
“We are committed to developing a path forward to end violence against Indigenous women and girls that will be directly informed by survivors, family members and communities. Community-based engagement to collaborate on taking concrete steps together will soon begin and will continue through the summer and early fall.”
THE World Sikh Organization said that it and Sikhs all across Canada stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples in their calls for safety, equality and respect.
WSO President Mukhbir Singh said: “All levels of government in Canada must address what the Report calls the ‘persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses’ suffered by Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
“The word genocide cannot be taken lightly and this Report must prompt governments, law enforcement, business and other social actors to finally initiate real and systemic change.
“We thank the Commission for hearing the truths of over two thousand family members, survivors of violence, experts and Knowledge Keepers.
“The Sikh community has also suffered genocide and systematic violence in India and we believe that the example set by Canada in confronting past wrongs and hearing the voices of victims, can set an example for other countries.
“We will do all we can to stand with our Indigenous friends and support their journeys of healing. We call on Canadian Sikhs to read the Report and commit to the calls to action.”