The Conservative government on Friday slammed the door shut on a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.
Tory MPs outnumbered NDP and Liberal parliamentarians on a special House of Commons committee to vote down a recommendation for a public inquiry as part of a special parliamentary probe.
Claudette Dumont-Smith, executive director of Native Women’s Association of Canada, called the newly released Tory report "discouraging." She said the recommendations are "more the status quo, but the status quo doesn't work," pointing to the steady increase of aboriginal women who go missing or are murdered.
"It is appalling that after hearing witness after witness testify that much more needs to be done on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the Conservatives could produce a sanitized report saying that everything is fine," said NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Jean Crowder.
Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett said the report "only contains recommendations approved by the government, and does not reflect the testimony of witnesses, is in flagrant disregard of Parliamentary principles."
The recent murder of Loretta Saunders, a 26-year-old Inuit student at Saint Mary's University, had renewed calls for an inquiry in recent weeks; there was a vigil for Saunders on Parliament Hill on Wednesday. The criminology student, who was studying incidents of murdered and missing aboriginal women, disappeared on Feb. 13; two people have been charged with first-degree murder in her death.
"I refuse to speculate about Loretta’s death. What I do know is that our society has discarded indigenous women and girls in much the same manner for generations," Saunders' thesis advisor, Darryl Leroux, wrote after her death.
Scroll through this Canadian database of murdered and missing women, spanning a staggering 90 pages. The database, created by University of Ottawa doctoral student Maryanne Pearce and released in January, lists 824 women. It's already out of date.