Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic July 13, 2017 - 1:10 pm

MMIWG inquiry vows to continue despite latest resignation

INAC minister in damage control with departure of Marilyn Poitras

Marion Buller, standing, in blue scarf, the chief commissioner of the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, with the other four commissioners in August 2016, at the announcement of inquiry in Gatineau, Qué. Marilyn Poitras, third from right, has since resigned leaving Buller and three other commissioners for now. (FILE PHOTO)
Marion Buller, standing, in blue scarf, the chief commissioner of the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, with the other four commissioners in August 2016, at the announcement of inquiry in Gatineau, Qué. Marilyn Poitras, third from right, has since resigned leaving Buller and three other commissioners for now. (FILE PHOTO)

The remaining commissioners in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls say they are “deeply committed with moving forward in a good way,” with scheduled consultations, in a statement following the resignation of Marilyn Poitras, July 11.

“We want to reassure the public that now, more than ever, we remain focused on this tremendously important work,” said the inquiry’s chief commissioner, Marion Buller.

Poitras, a Métis law professor from the University of Saskatchewan, announced she would resign as commissioner in the inquiry effective July 15, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, July 11.

“I strongly feel the terms of reference that we were set out to achieve have not been met,” she said in her resignation letter, arguing that the model of the inquiry thus far has been a “colonial approach” to the systemic challenges faced by Indigenous women and girls.

“There’s a whole resiliency piece that no one is talking about,” she said in a section of her letter addressed to Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S people.

“I am here to remind you, that your courage and dedication got us here. Your truths, experiences and decades of fighting are what got this national inquiry.”

Commissioner Qajaq Robinson, an Ottawa-based lawyer who was raised in Igloolik, said in a Twitter statement, July 11, that community visits are continuing as planned over the summer, with a scheduled hearing in Rankin Inlet this December.

“I want to reassure families that we will continue to work, this resignation does not change our fall and winter schedule,” she tweeted.

The $53-million inquiry, which launched in September 2016, has faced criticism from Indigenous communities who feel that the inquiry’s progress thus far has been slow and poorly communicated.

The minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Carolyn Bennett, said during a media scrum at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, July 12, that she’s confident in the commission’s objectives after an emergency meeting held the day before.

“Communication has been an issue and that they have got to do a better job communicating their plan and their vision, values and the way that they’re going to get this work done,” she told reporters.

Bennett said any decision to replace Poitras would be decided by the government in consultation with the commission.

Commissioners told the minister they can continue as a four-member inquiry if necessary.

“We need to get this work done and we need to make sure that families are feeling listened to,” Bennett said, thanking Poitras for her work since being appointed to the position last August.

Reaction to the resignation echoed across the greater Indigenous community following Poitras’ announcement.

Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada President Rebecca Kudloo thanked the commissioner for her work and reiterated support for the work of the inquiry, but called on the inquiry to properly communicate its plans with stakeholders.

“I have been asking for months for information about their plans to work with Inuit families and communities, and I am still waiting,” Kudloo said.

“I still don’t know the status of the Inuit Nunangat Advisory Circle that was committed to months ago.”

The inquiry’s Rankin Inlet hearing is scheduled to take place the week of Dec. 3, and is so far the only hearing planned in Nunavut.

Participation in the December hearing isn’t limited to residents of Rankin Inlet, and any Nunavummiut can request to take part.

There are a number of ways Nunavummiut can contact the inquiry to register for the upcoming inquiry:

• phone, toll free at 1-844-348-4119

• fax at 604-775-5009

• mail at PO Box 500, Station A – Vancouver BC V6C 2N3

• email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

• in-person during a community visit ahead of the hearing date

The commission also has an Inuktitut-language web page with more information.

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(9) Comments:

#1. Posted by Stop worrrying about the worriers on July 13, 2017

Haven’t we seen this movie before? Didn’t the residential school TRC do more or less the same thing?

I almost think a false start might be inevitable with something that has had such high expectations and so much divisive public debate.

It’s like a black hole collapsing in on itself through the sheer massiveness of its righteous indignation and moral superiority.

Hopefully they can steer it back on course without worrying too much about the worriers. Hitting reset will just be a waste of time and money.

Don’t get me wrong, this is important - if only because enough people say it is important.

Except for those who have bailed, risking a self-fulfilling prophecy, I don’t blame the commissioners one bit.

#2. Posted by Think about it on July 13, 2017

I am starting to think that the Cons were right.  This inquiry will end up not resolving anything.  At the end of the day the victims will remain victimized and the lawyers will be richer.

#3. Posted by Karl Popper on July 13, 2017

#1 A dying star will collapse in on itself and sometimes this creates a black hole. However a black hole doesn’t collapse in on itself because it is already collapsed.

#4. Posted by Supporter on July 13, 2017

When they started this MMIWG, thought they were thinking of the Missing and Murdered Women and thier families???...the commission is just like making a mockery of the missing and murdered women, they have to start doing thier jobs otherwise all the money is getting wasted on nothing being done…they have to start talking to the communities that have told them of the missing women from thier communities and start the healing process of the family members that were left behind or felt abandoned by the missing and murdered women

#5. Posted by Common Sense on July 14, 2017

It’s just a dog and pony show to make it look like the Government is actually doing something. Instead of this travelling circus why not put resources into police forces and investigative bodies to actually look into the missing people instead of lets sit in a circle and talk about it and move on.

#6. Posted by priority on July 14, 2017

So Trudeau puts $53 million towards the inquiry which essentially underfunds and constrains the process. He gave Khadr $ 10.50 million and now some $ 241 million to the Clintons.

if he was truly representing Canadians, the inquiry would have been properly funded in the first place; but, as I have indicated before, the inquiry was a bad idea from the start made worse by the inept PM and his Liberals.

#7. Posted by Empty Garden on July 14, 2017

#6 Please provide some evidence for your claim that the PM gave the Clinton’s 241 million.

#8. Posted by What me worry? on July 14, 2017

In Nunavut we hear about 3 day or a few weeks of boil water notices. First Nations have over 97 long term boil water notices across Canada.  That means, lasting over a year and kept, what me worry? silent.

In hindsight it would of been smarter to use the $53 million that’s funding the crashing MMIWG commission to help fix the First Nations water problems.  Giving a better quality of life.

Liberals just gave $20 million of your tax dollars to the Clinton Health Access Inc. (scroll down to Clinton)
CHAI uses money in 3rd world countries HIV/Aids awareness and abortions. 

The $20 and 54 MMIWG million’s should of been spent fixing First Nations Water. Instead of creating poverty and third world conditions in Canada by doing everything not to fund. Does Canada have a Prime Minister for Canada?

#9. Posted by Stay Calm on July 15, 2017

Chill.  The Inquiry faces a mammoth task - to look in every nook and cranny in our whole country!  That requires alot of pre-planning, budgeting and use of taxpayers dollars where every cent must be accounted for.

People should not be judging what they do not know.  Some of the public have been very ignorant of all it takes and condemned them and this is not right.

Let them get the administrative and organizational parts completed before they hit the road and start being more supportive!

They want to do good and be sensitive to people’s situations so be more positive about their upcoming work.

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