Missing, murdered inquiry stalled by government red tape: report

Inquiry leaders say Ottawa caused an eight month delay

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 out today, entitled “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.

The report says those offices initially had to operate without proper phones, internet and office equipment, and that there were long delays in procuring the material necessary for staffers to do their work.

“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.

“We need enough time to do the job properly, to hear from families and survivors who want to speak to us, to hear from institutions about their policies and procedures, and to hear from experts in human rights and other topics.”

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.

Commissioners Brian Eyolfson and Qajaq Robinson told the news conference that racist and colonialist attitudes have been a pervasive theme of what witnesses have been telling the inquiry.

“They did this morning, and yesterday, and the day before,” Robinson said.

The commissioners say the inquiry has to adhere to human resources, information technology and contracting rules that apply to all areas of the federal government, restrictions that they say have badly impaired the inquiry’s ability to contract the necessary people and services.

The federal Liberal 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 Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police ID man found dead in Vallican after probe leads to no arrests

Forty-seven-year-old Aaron Graham, of Vallican, has been identified as the man killed

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

52,000 reasons to walk in the cold

Nelson CARES raises over $52,000 at Coldest Night fundraiser

Supreme Court of Canada will hear Sinixt appeal May 12

B.C. has appealed Indigenous hunting case through several levels of court starting in Nelson in 2016

Nelson to hold open house on bike routes

City wants to discuss its plans with the public and get input

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

B.C. Liberals call for assistance on soaring strata insurance rates

NDP’s Carole James says problem is across the country

Most Read