18 January

Kahnawake, January 18th 2018 Quebec Native Women is deeply concerned about the departure of Debbie Reid, Executive Director, and Alain Arsenault, who have left their respective positions at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

Firstly, QNW wishes to recognize the courage of the families and survivors who have so far testified before the commission. We also commend the dedication and hard work of the staff members, and their determination to see this important public inquiry succeed.

However, these resignations – in addition to what we observed during the week of hearings in Maliotenam from 27 November to 1 December 2017 – suggest that widespread disorganization persists within the commission itself. The goals and objectives of the commission are unclear, often leaving families and survivors unsure of what the inquiry can and cannot do. On many occasions, QNW has reiterated the need for the inquiry to take a concrete look at the cases of disappearance and violence that are presented at the hearings. “We want the core of the inquiry to be more legal. Families deserve to have clear answers to their questions, especially regarding police investigations or the lack of action in the case of reported disappearances,” said Viviane Michel, president of QNW.

The departure of Alain Arsenault, due to deep professional divergences within the commission, echoes the recommendations that QNW sent directly to the inquiry team this month. The organization makes particular mention of it, since these divergences are reflected elsewhere in the work of the commission and in their difficulty to establish clear objectives. We are concerned that in the absence of drastic action and change, the commission will fail in its mandate.

The organization sincerely hopes that these departures, along with the observations and recommendations of QNW, will be taken into account for the next steps.

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Source : Julia Couture-Glassco, Communication Officer
communication@faq-qnw.org | 450-632-0088, ext. 232