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

Spill response vessel arrives in Port Alberni

Base isn’t finished, but team is ready for emergencies

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

NIC practical nursing students hone skills on pandemic’s front line

‘It also has become clear that this is my thing,’ – NIC practical nursing student Breanna Patterson

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Vancouver Island family loses everything after house fire next door

Friends of Paula and Clifford Lucas are raising funds to help the young family

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’ – why some seek solace in illicit substances

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Most Read