Mr. Speaker, on Friday, February 27th, Provincial and Territorial Premiers and Ministers, Federal Ministers and National Aboriginal Organization Leaders will gather in Ottawa to discuss how best to collaborate and coordinate action to prevent and address violence against Indigenous women and girls.
The National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is an unprecedented gathering of partners from across Canada who collectively agree that concrete and identifiable actions are needed.
We know from national research and reports that Indigenous women and girls are three times more likely to experience violence than any other population in Canada. We also know that good work is being done across many jurisdictions and organizations at the local, regional and national level to change this. But, as of right now, no comprehensive or coordinated action plan exists.
The goal of the Roundtable is to create a dialogue among all partners to develop and act upon coordinated solutions to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. The discussion will focus on prevention and awareness, community safety, and policing measures and justice responses.
Careful consideration has been given to how the Roundtable will recognize and include the views of the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The National Aboriginal Organizations will be hosting a family gathering on February 26th. From that gathering, families in attendance will nominate four witnesses, representing the four directions, to attend the Roundtable to share the vision of the families and provide their reflection on the discussion from the day.
Mr. Speaker, I have been asked by the National Aboriginal Organizations to serve as the official chair for the Roundtable. I am encouraged by the willingness of all levels of government to collectively engage in respectful and meaningful dialogue, set aside political differences and focus on our common goals. We have all acknowledged that work needs to be done to address the far too common tragedies of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.
A family member of a missing Northwest Territories’ Indigenous woman will be part of the delegation. My Cabinet colleague, the Honourable David Ramsay, Minister of Justice, will also be joining me to share the perspectives of the Northwest Territories with the rest of Canada.
The Roundtable is the first meeting of its kind and the start of an important national conversation. I look forward to a shared national commitment to increased, ongoing collaboration and the development of regionally and community-based solutions to prevent and address violence against Indigenous women and girls.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.