Thursday, June 21, 2018

This National Indigenous Peoples Day, Canada’s unions are calling on the federal government to grant the two-year extension to the mandate of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Earlier in June, the Commission was only granted a six-month extension in response to its request to add an additional two years to their mandate.

“We must avoid making the same mistakes of the past and learn from our history,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff. “This means we must centre the voices of Indigenous communities in order to fully confront the ‘destructive legacies of colonization’, as described by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

The Commissioners called for an extension in response to the needs expressed by Indigenous communities, survivors and family members of those who are missing or have been murdered.

“If the process, the method, the solutions and the advocacy is not steered by those who are impacted, we are reinforcing the very colonial tactics that brought us here today with respect to our relationship with Indigenous, First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples,” said Yussuff.

The extension balances the need to urgently address violence against Indigenous women and girls with the necessity of ensuring thorough and comprehensive recommendations in the final report. The two-year extension would allow for increased community participation, as well as specific consideration of LGBTQ and two-spirit people.

For Canada’s unions, recognizing National Indigenous Peoples Day is about recognizing the needs of Indigenous people and standing in solidarity with their social, economic, and political needs. The government has a responsibility to ensure that the public inquiry adequately meets the objectives set out in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.