FILE – Commissioners Marion Buller (left) and Commissioner Michele Audette prepare the official copy of the report for presentation to the government during ceremonies marking the release of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women report in Gatineau June 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

FILE – Commissioners Marion Buller (left) and Commissioner Michele Audette prepare the official copy of the report for presentation to the government during ceremonies marking the release of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women report in Gatineau June 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Indigenous advocates decry new MMIWG plan as ‘aspirational statements,’ not action

National action plan was released two years after the inquiry

Indigenous advocates are calling the federal government’s new plan to address missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Girls a series of “aspirational statements,” not a real commitment to action.

That’s how Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson, treasury-secretary of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, characterized the report during a press conference shortly after its release Thursday (June 3).

The plan to move forward on the 231 calls to action that came from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls comes two years after the original report.

The plan, branded as the long-promised national action plan, is something of a preliminary, but comprehensive, framework developed by a large group of partners, including the families of victims and survivors, each of Canada’s distinct Indigenous groups as well as provincial, territorial and federal governments.

READ MORE: 2 years after MMIWG report, Ottawa releases preliminary national plan

“One thing I was noticing in the plan is overall that justice delayed is justice denied. We can’t wait three years for some of these priorities to be handed down,” Wilson said. “Since the national inquiry, hundreds of women have gone missing and murdered many in our valleys, in our area. They go to court, and they look for justice, and they’re not finding it.”

Wilson said the plan was too reactive, and not proactive enough to help Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people before they find themselves in dangerous situations.

Dawn Lavell-Harvard, president of the Ontario Native Women’s Association and a member of the Wikwemikong First Nation, said that the action plan’s focus on individual nations can leave out many women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

“What people don’t recognize is that this excludes many Indigenous women who are not connected to a First Nation and Métis organization or any Inuit organization,” Lavell-Harvard said, noting that as many as 80 per cent of Indigenous people in Canada don’t live on a specific First Nations territory.

“We have seen with the recent COVID dollars how many women and children slipped through the cracks because of a nation-to-nation approach.”

Shelagh Day of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action decried the lack of concrete action steps in the plan.

“Let’s be clear: what was issued this morning is not a national action plan. A national action plan asks and answers the questions: what, how, who, and when,” Day said. “We were looking for and expecting concrete actions with responsibilities assigned timelines and resource allocations. That is not what we see here. What we have is some restatements of some of the calls for justice, but not a lot more.”

Funding for support services for survivors and family members is identified as the first immediate step in the plan, as well as “adequate funding” to ensure the survivors and families can remain involved to provide insight and input into the national action plan’s next steps.

While the action plan names and acknowledges the genocide perpetrated against Indigenous Peoples, Mi’kmaq laywer Pamela Palmater said it does not go far enough in addressing the “historic and ongoing genocide, that specifically targets Indigenous women and girls in very unique ways for violence, exploitation, dispossession and oppression.”

Palmater said that the plan lacks urgent action items to end the genocide.

“This was essentially a statement that in the future, we’re going to have an implementation, which is going to – in the future – have some other plans and some other target dates.”

Palmater took issue with the plan calling itself an “evergreen document.”

The last thing I want to hear in this country is that we have evergreen genocide, because that means there is no target end date, no measuring. I want the genocide to end now. And there are many, many concrete actions that they could take within the next two weeks to end genocide.”

– with files from The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Indigenous

Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Days after students’ return to Victoria High School was delayed by a year, the province has announced some amenities that will be included in the school’s expansion project. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Child-care spots, artificial turf field, non-profit space included in Vic High expansion

SD61 now aims to welcome students back at the high school by September 2023

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read