Manitoba Liberals would help pay for national MMIW inquiry if they win election, says leader
The Manitoba Liberals would look at matching the federal government's commitment to spend $40 million over two years on a national inquiry for missing and murdered indigenous women.
Leader Rana Bokhari says it's too early to say exactly how much a Liberal government would contribute, but as premier, she would commit funds.
"I absolutely would. Absolutely," she said. "I can't say [how much] today. We're in the middle of costing out a lot of plans. But I think right now the commitment is there in terms of dollars but those are things that will come as they go."
"I think [the impetus for an inquiry] came from a lot of very strong Manitobans who stood up and said that they wanted this done. So I believe that Manitoba should be very proud of their own people for standing up and advocating for this."
Bokhari said she stands behind the federal government's resolve to hold a public inquiry and there's no way Manitoba would not be involved.
"We're not not going to be involved. I guess that's the right answer to that."
NDP Leader Greg Selinger applauded the federal government's commitment of $40 million over two years.
"It's a good start," he said, noting that Manitoba was among the jurisdictions pushing for one. "I'm glad to see it's moving forward," he said.
But Selinger said Manitoba would not help foot the bill directly for the inquiry's work.
"We had that discussion when we did the second roundtable on missing and murdered indigenous women and girls," he said. "We think the federal government should fund the inquiry. We're already [providing] many of the services that need to be done and we will work with them to move this forward."
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"We have a long standing support for the inquiry itself but it is a federal commitment," he said Tuesday.
Pallister said if his party forms government next month, it will focus on front-line services to provide better social services, access to health care access and better education.
"I'm ready to work with the Trudeau government to affect those changes and improve those front-line services and that will continue to be my focus," he said.
Pallister said he doesn't think Manitobans would want their provincial government spending tax dollars on a federal project.
"We have incredible demands on the public purse in Manitoba and priorities that we have to address here at the front line. I don't think anyone wants to see us take money and resources away from front-line protection and front-line services to put towards a federal commitment that was previously made. So I would continue to emphasize that we need to focus on the front line protections of our people here in Manitoba."