Federal Government Gives MMIWG Inquiry 6 Extra Months
The Canadian government has rejected a request for a two-year extension of the inquiry by the Commission for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, but has allowed the commission six extra months to submit its final report and finish the work.
The commission had asked for a two-year extension and $50 million more in funding, on top of the $53.8 million they have already been granted for the inquiry.
The commission, led by Chief Commissioner Marion Buller, has said that more families would come forward if the extension were granted. The commission itself has been plagued by delays and resignations.
Carolyn Bennett, the minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, said that the government is very grateful for the work of the commission, but noted that all provinces have to be in agreement in order for the inquiry to be allowed.
“If any province or territory did not agree to have those extended,” she said, “we would no longer have a national public inquiry.”
Alternate methods of helping Indigenous communities have been brought forward to the government by Indigenous groups.
“A lot of the families said to us that they would rather the money went into the concrete actions for seeking of justice, support for families, and actions to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Bennett.
The ministry will spend about $50 million on the issues around missing and murdered indigenous women, but not through the commission.
$27 million has been put toward for health support and victim services, which is something that families and survivors themselves have been asking for, according to CBC.
And $9.6 million has been designated for a new RCMP unit that would oversee major investigations, including cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women.
The government is also addressing the commission’s interim recommendations. $10 million will be granted for a commemoration fund so that indigenous organizations can organize memorial events, as the commission has requested. And $1.25 million will be granted for a review of how police policies and practices affect Indigenous people.
The inquiry’s chief commissioner says she is incredibly disappointed.
“It certainly is going to limit the amount of evidence we can take in, the amount of evidence we can process, and the amount of facts we can make findings upon,” Buller said.
With files from CBC