Open Letter to Prime Minister Harper Calling for Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

March 3, 2014

Open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the need for a national inquiry into the shocking number of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.

March 3, 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

The recent tragic death of Loretta Saunders has spurred us to write to renew our call for an independent, national public inquiry into the shocking number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada has documented 582 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada and this number is almost certainly low, partly due to the federal funding cuts to their Sisters in Spirit project. We do know that Indigenous women in Canada are seven times more likely to be murdered than non-Indigenous women.

The Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 represents approximately 13,000 public and private-sector workers in Western Canada. More than a quarter of the cases documented by NWAC took place in B.C., so this issue has particular local significance to us, but should also be of great concern nationally.

An independent, national public inquiry into this situation is absolutely crucial to begin to deal with some of the root causes of the violence – including systemic poverty, racism and sexism, lack of affordable housing – and to identify areas where the system is still failing victims. Of the homicide cases documented by NWAC, only 53 per cent resulted in criminal charges.

MoveUP stands with unions across Canada and urges you and your government to ensure that an inquiry takes place as soon as possible, in order to better comprehend and address this shameful national tragedy.


David Black

MoveUP President