OTTAWA—The commissioners of the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls are blaming federal red tape for the delays that have plagued the inquiry so far.
In an interim report released Nov. 1 titled “Our Women and Girls are Sacred,” the inquiry says the federal government’s procurement and contracting policies resulted in an eight-month delay setting up offices.
“We have faced several obstacles from a bureaucratic and procedural and policy perspective in getting our national inquiry up and running and mobilized all across Canada,” chief commissioner Marion Buller told a news conference.
One central element of the report: it urges the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to create a national police task force that would allow the inquiry to refer families and survivors to assess or reopen cases or review investigations.
Buller compared the work of the inquiry to that of the five-year Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which explored the legacy of Canada’s residential school system—a tragedy that was purely historical in scope, she said.
“Our problems are historical and ongoing,” Buller said, a suggestion that perhaps her inquiry will need at least as long as the TRC, if not longer.
“Indigenous women and girls are suffering violence. That somehow has become normalized, and that is a national tragedy … it comes back to how long it’s going to take to do this right.”
As the inquiry’s work continues to ramp up and gain profile, more and more people are coming forward who want to be heard, she added. Of all 900 people who have come forward so far, 100 of them registered in the last month alone.
The federal government has already earmarked $53.8 million over two years for the inquiry, which is aimed at examining the patterns and factors underlying the systemic causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
From The Canadian Press