REGINA – Premier Brad Wall is calling for his provincial counterparts to reaffirm support for an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women; however whether that push leads to change remains to be seen.
“It will certainly keep the issue front and centre and I think continue to force the prime minister to justify his position,” said Tom McIntosh, head of the politics and international studies department at the University of Regina. “This is not a prime minister who is easily moved off of a position once he’s taken a pretty firm public stand.”
Wall’s renewed call to action follows the recent, violent death of Manitoba teenager Tina Fontaine.
“It’s important for our province, where more than half of the missing women are First Nation or Aboriginal and roughly 15 per cent of the population. You can see a disproportionate representation there,” said Wall via telephone from Charlottetown, PEI.
Last week Prime Minister Stephen Harper said there would be no national inquiry and that the issue is a criminal one not a sociological one; however Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau calls that stance “out of touch.”
“It’s something that we’re allowed to tisk our heads at and move on to the next subject. This is something all of Canada needs to take note of,” said Trudeau in Halifax on Monday.
Erica Beaudin has been working with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations to reduce violence against women. She hopes the premier’s comments can bring further attention to the issue.
“When we look at the issues of violence and death resulting from homicide, we have a long way to go in this province. And really that is where I’d like to see the bulk of any money coming down,” said Beaudin.
Regardless of what comes of this week’s meetings, the debate over what should be done is far from settled.