QUEBEC CITY – After much national debate and resistance from the Harper government, Justin Trudeau campaigned on the promise to launch an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.
That process is now underway with a series of pre-inquiry meetings across the country.
The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Carolyn Bennett and the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly, are visiting 18 cities to engage with representatives of First Nations and Inuit organizations, family members of victims, police and potentially even perpetrators.
On Thursday, they held meetings with family members of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Quebec City.
No one was present from the community of Val d’Or, where allegations of sexual assault and other abuses were made against eight police officers, but the ministers did speak about the scandal.
They said what happened in Val d’Or illustrates the need to expand the scope of the inquiry to include violence and sexual assault, suicide and police misconduct.
“The feminist community in this country does not believe the racism and sexism in policing is a few bad apples,” said Bennett.
“We see Val d’Or as a symptom of a much greater problem.”
The preliminary process will determine the best way to conduct an inquiry.
The government will also use the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, concluded under the Harper government, as a guide.
According to the RCMP, there are around 1,200 missing and murdered Aboriginal women since 1980.