Manitoba

Government's call for Manitoba commissioner on inquiry not a deal-breaker

Premier Brian Pallister says a Manitoba commissioner on the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women would be an asset to the process and a missed opportunity. There has been criticism the province is holding up the process to get the inquiry started.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says the national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women can learn a lot from Manitoba. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Premier Brian Pallister says it's not an 'either or,' that a Manitoba commissioner be appointed to the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, but says it would be a "missed opportunity" if it didn't happen.

The premier was responding to questions that the start to the MMIW inquiry was being delayed because of issues raised by Manitoba's Progressive Conservative government.

The province is still in negotiations with the federal government over the terms of reference for the inquiry. Pallister and other Canadian premiers will meet the leaders of the five national Aboriginal organizations in Haines Junction, Yukon on July 20.

Pallister says Manitoba has spent millions of dollars looking into issues such as the province's child welfare system's failure to protect Phoenix Sinclair and Brian Sinclair's 34 hour wait in a hospital emergency room.

"Millions of dollars of money have been invested on behalf of taxpayers here in Manitoba to address finding solutions to these issues; curative solutions. That kind of healing has to happen nationally. Why wouldn't we want to benefit the country from our work?" Pallister said.

Pallister told CBC News its imperative the MMIW inquiry doesn't "till the same fields again and again," and says he's been told the inquiry can't overlook work that is ongoing.

"Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people are telling me and they are telling our members of the Legislature; our cabinet ministers, don't use this inquiry as a catch-all- as an excuse to delay other initiatives and other actions that have to be taken. Make sure you walk and chew gum at the same time here," Pallister said. 

Pallister says Manitoba can take a lead role both at the inquiry and when looking for solutions to problems facing Indigenous people.

"We benefit the country by the experience we've had and the expertise we've developed. Not just at the missing and murdered women's inquiry, but in every other respect that it be at the forefront, because we can help be part of the solution," Pallister said.
Premier Brian Pallister says it's not an 'either or,' that a Manitoba commissioner be appointed to the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, but says it would be a "missed opportunity" if it didn't happen. 1:04