12 May

Kahnawake, May 12, 2017 – Québec Native Women (QNW) wishes to react to the decision by the Commission of Inquiry to postpone the regional consultations and to redirect its approach regarding the families and female survivors of violence.

QNW supports the decision of the Commission to reassess its approach regarding participation by the families and female survivors of violence. “We appreciate the Commissioners’ recognition of the shortcomings of the Commission since the beginning of the inquiry. However, it is also important to recognize the frustration and impatience of those who have wanted to testify for 9 months. This delay and lack of communication must, once again, be borne by the families and female survivors of violence,” adds Viviane Michel, President of QNW. A reorientation is necessary so that those who wish to testify before the Commission can do so, in keeping with their needs and with full knowledge of the facts. It is essential that they be informed and consulted in order to be prepared both emotionally and spiritually for the hearings scheduled for this fall. In this regard, it is essential for the Commission to take the time necessary to ensure that the work is done effectively.

However, QNW is disappointed with the Commission’s continuing lack of communication, despite the concerns expressed since the beginning of this inquiry. Because of this, the families and organizations have received very little information about the current and future processes, both in terms of a timeframe and the conduct of the inquiry. Thus the decision, while appreciated, seems to come rather late. QNW is concerned about reaching the objectives of the inquiry within the prescribed timeframe. The provisional report is still scheduled for November 1, 2017. Under the circumstances, it would be wise for the Commission to request an extension so that those wishing to participate have time to do so. It should also be noted that QNW filed its application to act two months ago in order to ensure that the voice of Indigenous women and girls is heard and respected