Friday, January 19, 2018

Prime Minister offers support for struggling Murdered and Missing inquiry

While at times the ongoing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry seems to be veering into the direction of dysfunction, the inquiry process has received some valuable support from the Prime Minister over the last few days.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking to the Canadian Press as part of a round table interview indicated that he's inclined to let the inquiry continue on with its efforts, though he did note that the government is monitoring the work of the commission and its staff and that the government will continue to provide the resources for the inquiry to to do their work.

And while many are suggesting that things are too far gone at the Commission of Inquiry for it to remain on course, for now, the Prime Minister has rejected the calls for the inquiry to be scrapped, or to restart the commission process.

Justin Trudeau says he's not ready to scrap or restart MMIWG
Ottawa long way from restarting or scrapping missing, murdered women inquiry PM

Those calls have grown in numbers in recent months, after a string of firings and resignations continued to take away from the focus of the inquiry and the ability to deliver on its mandate.

One of the growing list of persons calling for the Prime Minister to take control of the inquiry has been Kevin Hart  Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Manitoba, with Mr. Hart advising the PM not only to reset the direction for the inquiry, but the need to hire new commissioners to move it forward.

Mr. Hart's commentary does carry a significant amount of weight, as he is one of ten members of the National Assembly of First Nations.

The most recent departure from the staff of the inquiry came last week when it was announced that Debbie Reid had left, making for the second executive director to depart from the inquiry since the body began its work.

In their statement from January11th, the Commissioners and staff reiterated that they have a deep commitment  and responsibility to the 597 families and survivors who have given their trust to the National Inquiry and that they continue to prepare for their upcoming sessions.

The next stop on the agenda for the MMIWG inquiry is in Yellowknife from January 23 to 25, followed by a trip to Rankin Inlet from February 20-22.

While controversy continues to swirl around the Commission member, Marion Buller the Chief Commissioner notes that the Commission is working on a draft to be presented to the Federal government, with the Commission making plans to formally ask for a two year extension to their mandate, which would extend the Commission process until March 31st of 2020.

The only stop in the Northwest for the National Inquiry came in September of 2017 when the Commission held sessions in Smithers.

Though following the Smithers gathering, the Commission noted that they have plans for other stops in British Columbia in the future.

Following that stopover in the Northwest, the Inquiry delivered it's Interim report on November 1st, a document which you can review here.

In early January, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen relayed some of his concerns when it comes to some of the latest news out of the inquiry.

MP Nathan Cullen disappointed after member of MMIWG resigns
Cullen weighs in on latest departure from national inquiry
Nathan Cullen's look ahead for 2018
Cullen says Liberals  must get MMIW inquiry back on track

Mr. Cullen and many others will no doubt be  keeping an eye on how the turmoil within the inquiry panel and support staff may reduce the effectiveness of the inquiry to reach its conclusions and provide some guidance through recommendations on the path forward.

You can follow the path of the inquiry to this point from our archive page which is hosted on our political blog D'Arcy McGee.

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