New Alberta premier says inquiry not needed on murdered missing Indigenous women

first_img(Alberta Premier Jim Prentice during his campaign to lead the Alberta Progressive Conservative party. Jim Prentice Facebook page/ Victor B. Tucker)APTN National NewsNewly-minted Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says he doesn’t see the need for a public inquiry into the persistently high number of murdered and missing Indigenous women.In his first press conference as premier, Prentice said he has been concerned about the issue since the time he was Aboriginal Affairs minister in the Harper government. Prentice, who also handles the Aboriginal affairs portfolio, said it was time to implement solutions.“I am not convinced an inquiry is what we need to do,” said Prentice. “We have enough information about the problems we are experience, the problems of poverty women are facing…I prefer we get on with solutions rather than studies at this point.”Prentice’s position on the issue breaks ranks with the majority of premiers across the country who have called for an inquiry into the level of violence faced by Indigenous women and girls.According to the RCMP, 1,186 Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing since 1980.Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said the high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women is not a sociological issue.In response to the outcry for a public inquiry from families, however, the Harper government tabled its plan to combat the violence on Monday. The plan, however, repackaged previous announcements around the creation of a DNA-based missing persons index, funding for the RMCP’s national centre for missing persons, the funding for shelters and of on-reserve anti-violence program.The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) issued a statement Tuesday saying the plan fell far short of what was necessary to end the violence. The FSIN said First Nations only get an average of about $21,000 per year from Ottawa to run their family violence prevention programs.“I have met with affected families and sat with them in court as they relieved horrific details and questions ‘why?’ It is for them that we seek answers,” said Vice-Chief Kimberly Jonathan, in the statement.Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett called Ottawa’s plan a whitewash.“This type of political smoke and mirrors is why a national action plan must be rooted in a non-partisan national investigation into why this problem has persisted for decades and why successive governments have been unable to fix it,” said Bennett, in a statement.news@aptn.ca@APTNNewslast_img

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