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Canada launches inquiry into slain, missing indigenous women

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Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett announced the inquiry at an emotional ceremony in Gatineau, Quebec.

The federal government promised an "unflinching gaze" at the potentially uncomfortable truths that could emerge as the inquiry unfolds, as Minister of Status of Women Patty Hajdu put it, according to the Nunatsiaq News. The ministers are also expected to meet the families of some victims following the announcement. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had promised during his campaign to initiate a public probe to get to the root causes of what he's called a "national tragedy."

The Liberal government originally committed $40-million over two years to conduct the inquiry.

In fact, she worries the inquiry won't do anything but delay real action to address the issue of violence against indigenous women in Canada."I'm anxious", Smith said, shortly after landing at the Ottawa airport Tuesday afternoon.

A long-awaited national inquiry into murdered and missing Aboriginal women will begin September 1 at an estimated cost of CAN$53.8 million, the government announced Wednesday.

Five commissioners, headed by Marion Buller, the first female First Nations judge in British Colombia, are overseeing the investigation, which will cost around $41 million.

"I expect that this national public inquiry will clearly set a path forward to end this ongoing national tragedy, to look at ways to prevent this from continuing, from happening again, ways all levels of government and institutions and communities right across the country can work to ensure that we learn from this bad tragedy", he said.

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"We're pleased with some of the terms of reference in terms of dealing with police relations and also how the child welfare institutions have played a part", Achneepineskum said.

The reports from global human rights groups have included recommendations on how police handle investigations involving missing or murdered indigenous females and also on how to deal with allegations of police misconduct. But police services have long maintained that they need to protect important information about these cases in order to solve them.

The legislation, which governs how Canada interacts with registered Indians, First Nations and the reserve system, is considered by many indigenous leaders to be a paternalistic relic of colonialism and one that contributed to the marginalization of indigenous women by keeping them from positions of power.

She's anxious that after hundreds of recommendations over decades, including those outlined at the Highway of Tears Symposium and in Wally Oppal's B.C. inquiry, the national inquiry doesn't outline a plan to investigate and hold accountable government and police agencies for the human rights infractions and racism that led to all the closed files.

"We have known for years what many of these recommendations should look like", said Regional Chief Day.

With eight previous inquiries and studies into violence against indigenous women and girls, let this be the one to lay the issue to rest.

"We had to get political and pressure the police to do their job", she said. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good.

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