Montreal

'It is a historic event': Quebecers react to MMIW inquiry

First Nations leaders and family members of missing Aboriginal women in Quebec welcomed the launch of the inquiry and the naming of its five commissioners but highlighted the urgency of the situation.

First Nations leaders, families of missing women welcome inquiry but want results

Joan Friesen, whose family member Donna Navvaq Kusugak died in 2003, wipes her eyes during the announcement of the inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women at the Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

First Nations leaders in Quebec and family members of missing Aboriginal women and girls mostly welcomed the federal government's launch of the inquiry into their disappearance and the naming of the inquiry's five commissioners Wednesday.

However, they also highlighted the urgency of the situation, reminding political leaders that Indigenous women continue to face violence every day in Canada.

Here are some of their reactions:

Ghislain Picard

Chief, Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador

"We're certainly happy that the mandate of the commission is limited to a little more than two years. I think that's positive. That certainly gives us hope that whatever needs to change in the system could happen not only in two years, but I think it needs to start now."


Melissa Mollen-Dupuis

Spokesperson, Idle No More Quebec

"It's a very radical change from the Harper government, where you had no acknowledgement of almost of any issues that were touching First Nations people."

"It's an emergency action that we need. We need something that stops the violence now.  We need money going to shelters and emergency services."

"We heard a lot of the word 'prevention' of violence, but we want to see also justice. There's been a lot of issues with police work and with systems of racism that are in place that still exist in Canada in 2016."


Edith Cloutier

Executive director, Val d'Or Native Friendship Centre

"The fact that at the heart of the whole process and the commissioners, that it's a First Nations, Indigenous-driven process, I think it does make a big difference."

"The fact that there will be a broad mandate looking at systemic causes, in terms of causes of violence against Aboriginal women, including looking at policing and how the system needs to be studied, that's very positive news for us."


Laurie Odjick

Mother of Maisy Marie Odjick, missing since 2008

"This is a moment that, as families, we have been waiting for. It is a historic event. But as a family member, you can't wait to see action, so time will tell."

"[Commissioner] Michèle Audette has been with our families for a very long time. I am so very happy that she is one of the commissioners because she's also a family member and I know she'll do right by us."

"My biggest hope was that all the recommendations that were given by the families would be implemented across Canada, you know nationally. I believe that's happened today. I mean not all of them are there, but the biggest ones that we've asked for are there."


Bridget Tolley

Daughter of Gladys Tolley, killed in 2001 by a police cruiser

"It's so hard because I still don't know. I don't know the outcome, I'm worried. As for my family, I know that I might not ever get the justice that my family wants, but if we can help other families not go through what we went through, that would be justice enough."

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