Minister Responsible for Status of Women, Caroline Wawzonek provided the following statement on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada:
“On December 6th, 1989, a gunman murdered 14 women in Montreal. The anniversary of the massacre has been commemorated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, ensuring we never forget about the gender-based violence that occurred on this day 33 years ago.
“Today, we mourn and pay tribute to these women and countless others who have been impacted by the December 6th event. Today also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the gender-based violence that continues to take place here in the Northwest Territories (NWT) and throughout Canada.
Recently Winnipeg police confirmed that the man accused of killing Rebecca Contois, a member of O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi First Nation, is being charged with killing three more Indigenous women. I am deeply saddened by this news. It is a tragic reminder of the violence against Indigenous women that persists today, and the work that still needs to be done.
“In the NWT, violence against women is widespread and Indigenous women are disproportionately more at risk. About six out of every 10 Indigenous women experience some form of intimate partner violence starting as young as 15; among non-Indigenous women, it is four out of every 10.
“In many cases, this violence is the byproduct of colonization and intergenerational trauma. To prevent future generations of women from experiencing violence we need to interrupt the insidious nature of trauma.
“The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls for Justice calls upon federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous governments, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, to develop and implement a national action plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. In response to this report, I tabled our government’s action plan Changing the Relationship.
“Guided by engagements with Indigenous governments, community governments, and people with lived experience, this action plan is a culmination of years of work intended to dismantle colonialism and racial and gendered discrimination from all levels of government and public institutions. Only by doing this can we begin to create a society in which Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are granted the same safety and security as their non-Indigenous friends, colleagues, and neighbours.
“Today on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada, I recommit to taking meaningful action towards addressing systemic causes of violence, inequality, and racism so that all women and girls across the territory feel safe and empowered.”