Yukon MP defies leadership on inquiry

Yukon MP Ryan Leef is bucking his party leader Stephen Harper by calling for an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

Yukon's member of Parliament,  Ryan Leef,  is calling for an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

It’s in line with the Yukon government’s position, but at odds with his Conservative party government.

“I've been sent to Ottawa to represent Yukon's voice. and I think the Yukon voice over the last several months has been pretty clear,” Leef says.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada has said it has documented over 600 cases where aboriginal women have been murdered or gone missing between 2005 and 2010 — a number the RCMP has told CBC News it can't confirm.

The federal government has so far ignored calls for an inquiry, but says it's helping aboriginal women by making the justice system more responsive to their protection.

Leef, however, believes more can be done.

“I think the idea of an inquest would provide the closure that people are asking for, some of the answers they would like, and with the ultimate aim of generating solutions for prevention,” he says.

Leef says the public and especially women's groups influenced his decision. He says he’s also swayed by personal experience.

“Having been an RCMP officer in this territory in the past, and investigator with the safer neighbourhoods and communities unit, I know firsthand the effect of violence,” he says.

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