Rona Ambrose will support inquiry into missing, murdered indigenous women
'This is an absolutely non-partisan issue,' interim Conservative leader says
The Conservatives will support a public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, says interim leader Rona Ambrose.
Her comments mark a stunning reversal of the position taken by the Conservatives under Stephen Harper, who repeatedly rebuffed growing calls for a national inquiry, saying the government action on crime precluded the need for further studies.
- Read more of CBC's coverage of missing and murdered Indigenous women
- ANALYSIS | Harper leaves mixed-bag legacy for those on the political right
- ANALYSIS | Can Trudeau deliver on his First Nations promises?
"If the Liberal government wants to do an inquiry, and they think that's an important thing to do, I will support it," said Ambrose during an interview on CBC News Network's Power & Politics.
Ambrose said she met with Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould today.
"Our approach was always, let's not study it, let's take more action. If this government wants to do this study, we will support it.… I said to her, I'll support you in any way," Ambrose told host Rosemary Barton.
"This is an absolutely non-partisan issue," she said.
The newly elected leader was even more definitive in her support during an interview set to air Saturday on CBC Radio's The House with Chris Hall.
Met <a href="https://twitter.com/Puglaas">@Puglaas</a> this morning!Looking forward 2 working tgther 2 end violence against women, a passion of mine for years <a href="https://t.co/Ji78wuqj3j">pic.twitter.com/Ji78wuqj3j</a>—@RonaAmbrose
Change in tone?
Ambrose's support for a national inquiry comes as the party looks to send a message of renewal following its demotion to Official Opposition status.
A record 10 indigenous MPs were elected to the House of Commons on Oct. 19, but none were elected under the Conservative Party banner. The Liberals elected eight, the NDP two.
The outcome marked a significant shift away from the Conservatives, who once had four sitting indigenous MPs — the most of any party.
Aboriginal activists who spent months mobilizing First Nations communities during the election campaign said that policy changes made by the Harper government fuelled a high voter turnout — so high that some reserves ran out of ballots.
- Justin Trudeau signals new approach to relationship with indigenous people
- Hopeful indigenous reaction to Justin Trudeau's cabinet picks
- B.C. MP Jody Wilson-Raybould named justice minister
- Hunter Tootoo, Nunavut MP, joins Trudeau's cabinet
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated his pledge to "immediately" launch a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, a day after he was elected to lead a majority Liberal government.
He also vowed to implement all of the recommendations stemming from a report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which included the launch of an inquiry.
Earlier this week, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair reaffirmed his party's commitment "to building a new era of nation-to-nation relationship" with First Nations, starting with a public inquiry.
Aboriginal women continue to be overrepresented among Canada's missing and murdered women, according to a report made public by the RCMP in June.
While the Harper government resisted calling an inquiry, last September it tabled a $25-million plan over five years to address violence against aboriginal women and girls.
The plan included funding to support aboriginal communities and projects that would raise awareness to prevent violence against aboriginal women.
The Conservatives also promised an RCMP database on missing persons and unidentified remains, which they touted as "concrete action."
However, the project is still incomplete and far over budget five years after it was announced.
In 2008, Harper stood in the House of Commons where he delivered a historic speech apologizing for the Canadian government's treatment of indigenous children in residential schools.
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.
By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.
Become a CBC Account Holder
Join the conversation Create account
Already have an account?