Friday, August 5, 2016

Two year mandate for Commission of Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

The panel of inquiry that will oversee the upcoming review of Canada's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was introduced to the nation this week in Gatineau, Quebec.

In a ceremony at Canada's National Museum of History the Federal Government outlined the terms of the work for the Commission members which will get underway in September.

Two Federal Cabinet Minister's outlined the scope of the work ahead and how the process, with the support of all the provinces and territories could serve to address the concerns from communities across the nation.

"For over a decade, the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls have been demanding action. Today, after meaningful engagement with the families, experts and those with lived experience, ‎I am proud that the Prime Minister, with the support of all provinces and territories, has appointed five outstanding Commissioners ‎who will now be able to do the work needed for Canada to put in place the concrete actions necessary to put an end to this national tragedy." -- The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P. Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs 

"The launch of the Inquiry represents a concrete expression of the government's commitment to honouring the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. By examining the root causes that have contributed to this national tragedy, including past and present systemic and institutional barriers, the Commission of Inquiry will play a pivotal role in helping all of us to define where best to continue to act to protect the human rights of all Indigenous women and girls in Canada." --  The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

The task over the next two years for the Commission of Inquiry is a daunting one, as the five member panel prepares to hear testimony, assemble material and evidence as part of their review.

Ahead of them is a lengthy list of names of women and girls, predominately of First Nations ancestry, who have been murdered, or gone missing over the decades, with few answers yet delivered through many reviews of the past.

As well, the inquiry will look to address the systemic causes of violence towards indigenous women and Girls across Canada and to make recommendations to provide for effective action on those concerns.

The Commission of Inquiry will start on September 1st, 2016 and continue through until December 31st of 2018, the Commission has been granted the authority to call for witnesses and to compel delivery of documents.

The estimated cost of the two year commission is reported to be 53.8 million dollars, a figure that is already an increase from the previous estimate of the 40 million dollars.

An interim report is expected to be delivered before November 1st of 2017, with the Final report and recommendations to come one year later.

The Commission of Inquiry will be led by British Columbia Judge Marion Buller, Ms. Buller, the first female First Nations judge to be appointed to the provincial court bench was appointed as Chief Commissioner of the Five member panel.

Working with Judge Buller will be:

Michèle Audette
Qajaq Robinson
Marilyn Poitras
Brian Eyolfson

The biographies of the five commissioners can be reviewed here.

The Terms of Reference for the Commission of Inquiry can be found here, while more background related to the Inquiry can be reviewed from the Federal Government's information site.

The Webcast of the Introduction of the Commissioner members can be reviewed here.

And while the scope of the Commission is nationwide, the subject of the inquiry will have a particular resonance across Northern British Columbia and the Northwest in particular which have recorded a significant number of case files related to the missing and murdered women investigations of the past.

The progress of the two year path towards a final report and what recommendations that may come from it will be of much interest for many communities along Highway 16, the length of pavement crossing the northern part of the province where many of the missing or murdered once called home.

As the incidents and reports began to grow over the years the highway would become known as the Highway of Tears, a name which became frequently identified with the concerns on the issue of the missing and murdered women of the region.

A focus for Northwest towards the Inquiry has been outlined through some of the area's media outlets, their opening reports on the introduction of the Commission of Inquiry can be examined below:

August 3 -- BC Judge to lead inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls
August 3 -- Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous women to begin next month
August 2 -- Journalist Angela Sterritt tells us what details to expect from the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women (audio)

Some background on the launch of the Commission and the expectations from across Canada towards its work can be reviewed below:

August 5 -- MMIW inquiry needs to give solutions, says B.C. child and youth representative
August 5 -- Inquiry must result in action
August 5 -- Indigenous women inquiry ‘completely ignored’ issue of helping families navigate legal system: advocates

August 4 -- Indigenous reconciliation proposals need to be enormous
August 4 -- Why the inquiry into missing, murdered indigenous women must engage all Canadians
August 4 -- Missing, murdered women inquiry must look beyond systemic causes
August 4 -- 5 things: Judge Marion Buller takes on Missing, Murdered Women Inquiry
August 4 -- Global rights grouip to keep eye on Canada's missing, murdered inquiry
August 4 -- Former NWAC president talks SIS and #MMIW national inquiry
August 4 -- Police failures must be addressed in Missing Women's Inquiry, say families
August 4 -- Mother talks about second tragedy following #MMIW inquiry launch
August 4 -- A proper inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women cannot shy away from uncomfortable truths

August 3 -- Long-awaited details of $53.8M inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women announced
August 3 -- Reactions mixed to indigenous women's inquiry announcement
August 3 -- B.C. families of murdered, missing indigenous women worried inquiry won't target police
August 3 -- Canadian tragedy of missing, murdered indigenous women dates back decades
August 3 -- 'No room for mistakes' in missing, murdered women inquiry: B.C. families
August 3 -- Concerns linger as Ottawa launches missing, murdered indigenous women inquiry
August 3 -- B.C. families of missing, murdered women urge national inquiry to get it right
August 3 -- Families, advocates concerned about missing, murdered indigenous women inquiry
August 3 -- Annie Mae Pictou Aquash's daughter says families want loved ones acknowledged
August 3 -- Voices from the launch of the inquiry into missing, murdered indigenous women
August 3 -- Families of missing, murdered indigenous women get help with justice system
August 3 -- Mixed emotions, cautious optimism greet #MMIW inquiry announcement
August 3 -- Statement on the #MMIWG Inquiry by Senator Murray Sinclair
August 3 -- NWAC reacts to #MMIW terms of reference - do they go far enough?
August 3 -- Commissioners of national inquiry will start their work September 1
August 3 -- Commissioners named for National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
August 3 -- British Columbia reacts to #MMIW announcement
August 3 -- National inquiry budget, terms of reference announced during opening ceremony
August 3 -- Family members of missing and murdered women and girls react to inquiry
August 3 -- Another inquiry won't help indigenous women
August 3 -- Marion Buller, B.C. First Nations judge, to leave MMIW inquiry
August 3 -- MMIW issue needs action, not studies
August 3 -- MMIW inquiry: Meet the 5 commissioners
August 3 -- Missing women probe more about healing than justice
August 3 -- Head of missing women inquiry accused of perplexing soft sentencing in past decisions

August 2 -- #MMIW inquiry details to be announced Wednesday in Gatineau
August 2 -- Judge, lawyers among commissioners expected to be named to missing, murdered inquiry
August 2 -- Missing, murdered indigenous women inquiry could target Indian Act
August 2 -- Liberals set to unveil details of $40M inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women

August 1 -- #MMIWG: What a National Inquiry can and cannot do

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