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Jeannie Hakongak Ehaloak, minister of justice and minister responsible for the status of women, says she supports the request for a two-year extension of the MMIWG inquiry. (Submitted by Jeannie Hakongak Ehaloak) One Nunavut leader says she supports a two-year extension for the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Jeannie Ehaloak, minister of justice and minister responsible for the status of women, was asked about it on Monday in Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly.

"This government has not discussed whether or not we support the extension," she said.

"But after speaking with a number of individuals through emails and Facebook messages, and texts, as minister of justice and minister of status of women, I … will support the extension." Marion Buller, MMIWG inquiry chief commissioner, recently requested a two-year extension for the inquiry. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press ) Last week, Marion Buller, the inquiry’s chief commissioner, asked the federal government for the extension, saying the inquiry needs more more time to complete its work. The additional time would also allow the inquiry to connect with more women and girls, hold more hearings, hear from more experts, commission original research, and reach more vulnerable people, including members of the LGBTQ community.

The extension would mean the inquiry ends Dec. 31, 2020, with its final report submitted almost two months earlier on Nov. 1, 2020. There is no final word if or when the federal government will approve the extension.

"The Government of Canada is reviewing the request and will respond to the commission in a timely manner," stated a spokesperson for the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada on Tuesday.

"The government will also discuss this request with families, Indigenous partners, provincial and territorial counterparts before making a decision."

The inquiry was expected to take two years and cost almost $54 million to complete. The proposed extension did not come with a cost attached.

Pangnirtung MLA Margaret Nakashuk said she’d like to see the inquiry have at least one hearing in the Qikiqtaaluk and Kitikmeot regions.

Ehaloak said anyone who would like to have the inquiry come to their community can contact the national inquiry office and request one if they have support from their hamlet council.

With files from Nick Murray

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