Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of the 3.3 million members of the Canadian Labour Congress, I write to you today to renew our call for a public inquiry into the missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.

Earlier this year, the RCMP reported close to 1,200 cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and girls between 1980 and 2012. That same report highlighted the fact that this number is disproportionately high, showing how Aboriginal women and girls make up over 16% of female homicides, 11% of missing women and yet make up only 4% of the female population in Canada.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has created a database of missing and murdered women and girls. The oldest case in NWAC’s database occurred in 1944, even though the majority of cases are much more recent when you look at the RCMP figures.

Prime Minister, with evidence like this, the only right thing to do is call for a public inquiry.

The Premiers are pushing for an inquiry, the Aboriginal leadership and communities have been calling for one, and caring, fair-minded Canadians have been supporting this call.

In addition to our calls for a public national inquiry, we are also asking that you engage the Premiers to identify actions that need to be taken immediately to protect the personal security of Aboriginal girls and women, and facilitate their access to social services, housing, health and education in order to provide holistic support to Aboriginal communities. This includes developing a national strategy to reduce poverty faced by Aboriginal girls and women.

You must begin to show some leadership and facilitate dialogue between the federal and provincial ministers responsible for Aboriginal programs and with Aboriginal leaders now.

Prime Minister, you cannot continue to isolate yourself on this issue.

Launch a public inquiry today. Do it before more Aboriginal communities are devastated, before more Aboriginal families suffer, and before one more woman or girl goes missing or is murdered.

Yours sincerely,

Hassan Yussuff