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Aboriginal leaders renew calls for public inquiry into missing, murdered women

Ghislain Picard, the Assembly of First Nations' regional chief for Québec and Labrador, participates in a session as native leaders from across Canada attend the Assembly's 35th annual general meeting in Halifax on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Picard has hinted he may enter the race to replace former Assembly of First Nations national chief Shawn Atleo who resigned in the fallout over the federal government's proposed overhaul of aboriginal education.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
July 16, 2014 - 7:06 PM

HALIFAX - Aboriginal leaders are renewing calls for a national public inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women as hundreds of First Nations leaders gathered Wednesday in Halifax.

Cheryl Maloney of the Nova Scotia Native Women's Association said she is not optimistic that the federal government will change tack and launch such an inquiry.

"I don't hold out much hope for the Harper government," Maloney said in an interview following a presentation to the Assembly of First Nations, which is holding its annual meeting this week.

"We have a lot of commitment from Canadians and from parliamentarians, just not the right ones."

Maloney said aboriginal leaders will be reaching out to the opposition ahead of next year's election and are gathering a team of experts to look at possible legal action against Ottawa, including international remedies at the International Court of Justice.

She urged chiefs to continue pushing the government for answers on the more than 1,100 cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada.

Three resolutions were passed, directing the Assembly of First Nations to create a roundtable to kick-start a national dialogue on the issue. The assembly also vowed to lobby for national legislation protecting indigenous women involved in the sex trade.

Their calls for an inquiry have been repeatedly rejected by Ottawa.

But Kellie Leitch, the minister of the status of women, has said the federal government is concerned about the high number of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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