WATCH: First Nations leaders from across the country were finally able to get the attention of provincial and federal leaders Friday. Mike Le Couteur reports
OTTAWA – If there’s growing pressure on the Harper government to hold a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women, it isn’t showing.
As a meeting of premiers, cabinet ministers and aboriginal and women’s groups got underway in Ottawa today, calls continued for an inquiry aimed at preventing more deaths and disappearances in the future.
But Susan Truppe, the parliametary secretary to the federal women’s minister, insisted in the House of Commons that the government has taken action to alleviate the problem and that no more studies are needed.
Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, attending a similar meeting in Calgary, says many people and groups she has spoken with are resigned to the likelihood that there won’t be an inquiry so long as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are in power.
Bennett says that means the only way to get one is through an election and a change of government.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal women have been murdered or gone missing in Canada over the last 30 years.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she hopes the federal government will at least provide funding if the provinces, territories and aboriginal leaders agree to take steps such as finding ways for police to better share information and creating a public relations campaign.
Assembly of First Nations national chief Perry Bellegarde says one of the big issues for the provinces and federal government to decide is who will pay for any action they decide to take.