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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the 4th anniversary of the release of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The Final Report describes the dire situation faced by Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people as genocide. It also delivers 231 Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries, and all Canadians to affect change.
Since the release of the Final Report, the Government of the Northwest Territories has taken steps to begin to affect change so that Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people can feel safe, valued, and honoured in the NWT.
We still have work to do, and new people have been lost. As I speak here today, people are actively searching for Frank Gruben, who went missing from Fort Smith earlier this month. Mr. Speaker, I would like to reinforce the call to encourage anyone with information that could help find Frank Gruben to step forward.
In order to stop the cycles of violence and abuse in Northwest Territories’ communities and institutions, we must recognize and acknowledge the devastating root causes of violence that continue to be experienced by our vulnerable populations.
I am pleased to advise that the Government of the Northwest Territories is working on implementing the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Action Plan tabled in November 2022. An annual report on the implementation of the Action Plan is being prepared and will be posted on the GNWT’s MMIWG webpage later this month.
When responding to violence directed at Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, it is critical that partnerships be developed and allowed to grow so that trust can be fostered and solutions offered from various perspectives.
Recognizing that partnership is key, I am pleased to advise that, as per Action 33 of the Action Plan, work is currently underway to establish an MMIWG Advisory Committee. The purpose of this Advisory Committee is to provide advice and guidance to the GNWT on MMIWG-related matters.
With the cooperation of the Community Contacts, draft terms of reference were developed and will be shared with Indigenous governments, key stakeholders and other community partners for review and feedback. The intent is to have this Advisory Committee in place by late Fall.
This committee will provide a pathway for communities to provide input into programs and services offered, incorporate changes to programs and services so that they reflect and address community needs and aspirations and by being transparent and accountable in what we do.
Mr. Speaker, a lot has happened over the past four years since the release of the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The Government of the Northwest Territories remains committed to ending violence directed at Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
We will do this by implementing the Action Plan and continuing to work with our community partners to develop solutions that are effective and sustainable, always striving to do better.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.