Consensus grows for forum on missing and murdered aboriginal women

The Canadian Press
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Published on August 27, 2014

Premier Robert Ghiz prepares for the start of the premiers meeting with First Nations delegates in Charlottetown Tuesday.

Published on August 27, 2014

British Columbia Premier Christie Clark arrives at the Holman Grand Hotel in Charlottetown for a meeting with the premiers and First Nations

Published on August 27, 2014

Quebec Premier Phillippe Couillard and jis officials arrive for a meeteing between premiers and First Nations in Charlottetown Wednesday.

Published on August 27, 2014

Kathleen Wynne, premier of Ontario, arrives at the Holman Grand Hotel in Charlottetown Wednesday for a meeting between the premiers and First Nations.

Published on August 27, 2014

Brad Wall, premier of Saskatchewan, speaks to reporters in Charlottetown Wednesday.

Published on August 27, 2014

Michele Audette, of the Native Womens Association of Canada speaks to reporters in Chaarlottetown.

Published on August 27, 2014

Peter Taptuna, premier of Nunavit, arrives for a meeeting of premiers and First Nations in Charlottetown Wednesday.

A consensus appears to be building among Canada’s premiers and native leaders for devising a new way of taking action on the thorny issue of murdered and missing aboriginal women.

Prior to a meeting Wednesday in Charlottetown between the premiers and five aboriginal leaders, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said it was clear the federal government isn’t interested in a public inquiry, a proposal the provinces endorsed a year ago.

Wall said he still supports the idea, but he’s now pushing for a proposal that would see some kind of federal-provincial forum established.

“I don’t think anyone wants another ponderous, interminable process where we don’t have action and results,” Wall said.

“I think what we can achieve as premiers and as a country, if the federal government would engage, is an event and an exchange of best practices that’s informed by action.”

Wall said the provinces have already set up something similar for health-care innovation.

He said the forum should look at the justice system, First Nations education and also focus on the responsibilities of aboriginal groups.

“I don’t think anyone wants another ponderous, interminable process where we don’t have action and results,” Wall said. Brad Wall, premier of Saskatchewan

The premier said there have been 29 studies and reports on aboriginal issues since 1996, which have produced more than 500 recommendations. The proposed forum could also look at what action has been taken on those ideas, Wall said.

The Assembly of First Nations and the Native Women’s Association of Canada have already indicated their support for such a plan.

Michele Audette, president of the women’s association, says the idea of a roundtable would require the participation of the federal government.

If Prime Minister Stephen Harper rejects this proposal, Audette said her group would consider taking the government to court to ensure it lives up to its responsibilities to Aboriginal Peoples.

The demand for federal action comes less than two weeks after the body of a 15-year-old aboriginal girl was found in the Red River in Winnipeg.

Native leaders have said Tina Fontaine’s death, considered a homicide by 

Organizations: Assembly of First Nations, Native Women, Association of Canada

Geographic location: Canada, Charlottetown, Saskatchewan Red River Winnipeg

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