Take action on Feb. 27 for a national inquiry on murdered and missing Indigenous women

Maude Barlow
Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow supports the call for a national inquiry.

Over the past three years the Council of Canadians has repeatedly called for a national inquiry on murdered and missing Indigenous women.

That's because although Indigenous women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, they account for 16 per cent of murdered women and 11.3 per cent of missing women in Canada. Over the past 30 years, 1,026 Indigenous women have been murdered and 160 are missing. Sadly those numbers only continue to increase.

In mid-January, the Globe and Mail reported, "The premiers of the provinces and territories have supported the call for an inquiry and will meet with aboriginal organizations at a roundtable in Ottawa on Feb. 27 to discuss the issue. The federal government has not said whether it will participate in that event."

The Council of Canadians is asking its chapters to take three actions in the lead up to that day:

  • write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper expressing your support for a national inquiry,
  • if you have a Conservative MP, let them know that you want your elected representative to support a national inquiry,
  • request your municipal council to pass a resolution in support of a national inquiry.

The Council of Canadians has stated that an inquiry is needed to understand the root causes of this situation and to develop a national action plan. The federal New Democrats, Liberals and Greens agree that an inquiry is needed. And just this past summer, the provincial premiers "re-endorsed" their call for a national inquiry.

It's only the Harper government that refuses to convene this inquiry.

His government's inaction on this has also drawn international attention and concern. In October 2013, then-United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people James Anaya called on the Harper government to launch a "comprehensive and nationwide" inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. And in January 2015, a report by the human rights arm of the Organization of American States commented, "The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights considers that there is much more to understand and to acknowledge in relation to the missing and murdered indigenous women. This initiative must be organized in consultation with indigenous peoples, particularly indigenous women, at all stages."

For more information on this issue, please see this Council of Canadians fact sheet and the blogs listed below. For a draft letter to the editor that you can use for your own letter, please click here. A sample resolution, one recently passed by Winnipeg city council, can be found here.

Further reading
Barlow supports the We Care #MMIW campaign (December 2014 blog)
Council of Canadians Edmonton office supports the We Care campaign (December 2014 blog)
Council visits Sacred Fire in support of an inquiry on murdered and missing Indigenous women (October 2014 blog)
Council of Canadians calls for national action on murdered and missing Indigenous women (August 2014 blog)
UN rapporteur calls for inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women (May 2014 blog)
Council of Canadians supports call for inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women (March 2014 blog)
Barlow stands in solidarity with blockade of CN Rail demanding national inquiry (March 2014 blog)
Harper refuses a national inquiry on murdered Aboriginal women (February 2013 blog)
Council of Canadians attends Sisters in Spirit Vigil on Parliament Hill (October 2012 blog)