May 19, 2017 7:40 pm
Updated: May 23, 2017 12:29 pm

MMIW inquiry ‘having trouble getting off the ground’: Saskatchewan commissioner

WATCH ABOVE: Concerns over delays in the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.

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The national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women has taken recent criticism to heart, according to a Saskatoon-based commissioner.

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On Monday, a group of advocates, leaders and families posted an open letter outlining the reasons why they feel the inquiry is “in serious trouble.”

READ MORE: Ottawa looking into concerns over long-delayed MMIW inquiry

The group called for immediate action to address concerns with communication, transparency and independence in the inquiry.

“Is it having trouble getting up off the ground? It is,” commissioner Marilyn Poitras said.

“We’re doing this without a blueprint, trying to figure out people’s voices, trying to do it as quickly as we can with … a timeline of two years and four months.”

The first public hearing is scheduled for May 29 in Whitehorse.

The commission’s first report is due Nov. 1, though authors of the letter are calling for an extension.

“There isn’t a way to process that information and to build that trust by the time that this needs to come out,” Julie Kaye, who signed the letter and is also an assistant sociology professor at the University of Saskatchewan, said.

READ MORE: Necktie campaign focuses attention on plight of missing and murdered indigenous men

In a news conference on Friday, chief commissioner Marion Buller responded to the open letter.

“We realized that our communication strategy and communication outreach was lacking,” Buller said.

As a result, the inquiry hired a director of communications.

“We take full responsibility for our poor communication strategy, poor communication with the public and with the families as well,” she said.

The Nov. 1 report will be released as scheduled, according to Buller.

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