The Yukon News asked MP Ryan Leef whether he still supports a national inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women. Below is his full response. For details on the government’s action plan, see page 2.
My support for a national inquiry is contingent on the views of Yukon residents. If they support it, I will carry that message clearly to Ottawa.
That question will only be answered after Yukon residents have had the opportunity to review the action plan and assess that against the realities and needs of the territory.
Past calls for an inquest were done in absence of the parliamentary special committee report “Invisible women: a call to action” and the RCMP operational overview report into missing and murdered aboriginal women.
In light of these two comprehensive reports we know far more about the issues and about the solutions. This has provided direction to the government in respect to the action taken in the action plan and the $200 million investment and the $25 million already committed.
Given the significant developments and my duty to discuss these developments with Yukoners, it would be presumptuous of me to presuppose if the majority of Yukoners still feel an inquest is required.
Yukon residents will need to review the action plan, consider what a national inquiry will provide that the action plan and most recent reports haven’t been able to achieve in consideration of value to victims their families, communities and relative time frame and costs.
To simply boil this down to “do I support a national inquiry?” or does the Yukon for that matter, is an oversimplification of an important issue. For reasons stated above, my answer to that question will be provided by Yukon residents themselves after they’ve had a fair opportunity to review the steps taken and the two new reports we now have.
My direction on this will come from Yukoners from that point.
Simplifying this issue and pressing for my “personal” position before I have the benefit of consulting Yukoners and hearing their collective voice on the consultation serves no purpose other that the maintenance of the political football game in which the opposition and media are all to pleased to engage in.
This issue deserves far greater sensitivity and understanding of the issues than is being given when the media seeks to headline, truncate, and selectively crop issues of national importance down to a yes or no, narrowly directed question.
Let me summarize: a lot has been learned in the year since I called on our government to hold a national inquiry.
I have a duty to share and consult on what has been learned in addition to action that has already been taken by our government, action with directed plans, community inclusion, and $200 million in funding to support that action.
If the Yukon, in light of all of the new information and investment, still feels an inquest is required I will support that.
I will also continue to support all the very real measures our government is taking to reduce violence against aboriginal women and girls and to support victims and families.
Further, I will continue to criticize the disingenuous efforts of the opposition who consistently and shamelessly fail to support the wide range of measures and investments we are making in this regard. They are irresponsibly proposing a national inquiry as the action plan, not a path to action. For their shameless use of this deeply troubling issue as their political prop the public should be outraged, particularly in light of their failure to support any other measure that will help change this disturbing reality.
Ryan Leef is the Yukon’s
member of Parliament.