June 29th, 2012

Government must address tragedy of missing aboriginal women

Ashton calls on Conservatives to launch a national inquiry

WINNIPEG - The NDP critic for the Status of Women, Niki Ashton has called for a national inquiry into the disappearance and murder of Aboriginal women in Canada. Ashton made the statement in the wake of the discovery of three murdered Aboriginal women in Winnipeg that are linked to one potential suspect.

"The loss of these three young Aboriginal women is devastating. Tragically, they are part of a pattern in Canada - where Aboriginal women are more often the targets of violence and death," said Ashton. “This is an issue that the federal Government must take action on rather than cutting funding to groups that are trying to make a difference.”

Despite calls from community leaders, aboriginal groups and opposition parties, the Government has done little to address the disproportionate level of violence faced by aboriginal women. The Conservatives have cut funding to Sisters in Spirit, a task force that compiles and maintains a database of missing and murdered Aboriginal women across Canada.

“The Government needs to launch a national inquiry so that we can get to the root of these tragedies," said Ashton. “We have to address not only the violence itself but the systemic inequalities that lead to the vulnerability and targeting of aboriginal women.”