SAINT JOHN – National Aboriginal Day is supposed to be a time of celebration, but for hundreds of Public Service Alliance of Canada members, it was a time of protest.
About 300 PSAC members marched down King St. in Saint John Saturday, demanding a public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.
“What do we have to celebrate when we have, what was the last count, 1,186 woman? And there’s more. The under reported crimes against aboriginal women is a travesty in this country,” said Tanna Pirie-Wilson.
They marched up to Saint John MP Rodney Weston’s office, shouting the need for an inquiry.
“We know some of our members who have gone missing. Murdered and missing aboriginal woman are really important to the membership. We have to take a stand here,” said PSAC Atlantic Vice-President, Jeannie Baldwin.
In May, a national RCMP report revealed the number of missing and murdered aboriginal women was far more than was originally thought. Once believed to be around 500, police confirm there are almost 1,200 cases on file.
“It’s happening every day. Just two weeks ago we had another aboriginal sister who was beaten. I look at that, and look at here in the Atlantic region where Loretta Saunders was also murdered,” Baldwin said.
The federal government has rejected appeals for a public inquiry, stating that they’re taking action to deal with the issue.