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June 14th, 2022

Report shows the government isn't delivering funds they promised to save Indigenous lives

NDP MP repeats call for a safe space for women, girls, and gender diverse people fleeing violence

OTTAWA – Today, NDP Critic for Women and Gender Equality, Leah Gazan, was joined by community leaders calling on the Liberals to immediately fund a 24/7, low-barrier safe space for women, girls and gender diverse people in Winnipeg. Gazan's call for more support comes after five Indigenous women were either killed or lost their lives to failing systems in the past weeks in Winnipeg alone. She also demanded answers from the Liberal Government about the troubling confirmation that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Indigenous Services Canada hasn't spent any of the $724.1 million from the Violence Prevention Strategy first announced in the Fall 2020 to provide much-needed shelters and operational funding across the country.

“Indigenous women, girls, and diverse gendered individuals in Winnipeg are frightened for their lives and they have no access to a culturally sensitive, 24 hour, low-barrier safe space,” said Gazan. “For over 10 years, our community has been calling for this space to save lives. And ever since they came to power, the Liberals have been stalling. To learn that three years since the final report of the National Inquiry into MMIWG was released, the Liberals have not funded one single new shelter in Winnipeg or across the country--it's just devastating. Not one shelter. This is costing Indigenous people their lives.”

The NDP is calling for a shelter for those fleeing violence in a culturally appropriate setting, with trained staff to support those who’ve experienced gender-based violence. While establishing low-barrier shelters and safe spaces for Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people is a direct Call for Justice from the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) report, the Liberals have failed to deliver.

“How many more people have to die before this government listens? How many more families have to mourn a loved one because of their failure to fund lifesaving spaces?” said Gazan. “We cannot afford to be patient when an average of one Indigenous woman per week died in our city last month, and when Indigenous women are 4.5 times more likely to be murdered than non-Indigenous women. The Liberals love to make announcements about funding but that's not good enough if the money never gets out the door and into the communities who desperately need it. These are preventable deaths and New Democrats will not stop fighting until this government delivers a safe, low barrier space for Indigenous women in Winnipeg.”

Quotes from community leaders:
“At Ka Ni Kanichihk, we see women every day who are at risk, and those who are healing form incredible trauma. We’ve been working with women like this every day for the last 20 years, and the heart-broken families of murdered and missing women. This has to stop. Now. It’s time we protect valuable lives – our mothers, our sisters, our daughters. We’re all relatives, and we ask for the Government’s help.”
- Dodie Jordaan, Executive Director of Ka Ni Kanichihk Inc
"We must take a decolonized approach when examining how to ensure Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are safe from harm. All governments, institutions, organizations, and individuals must exercise the political will to fulfill the 231 Calls for Justice to end this genocide."
- Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, Chair of the National Family and Survivors Circle