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Claiming the North Pole

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Photo: Explore Jasper A 63-year-old Jasper Alberta man is dead following a climbing accident in Jasper National Park. The victim has been identified as Steven Stanko. CTV News is reporting police responded to a call around 4 p.m. last Thursday, when they arrived they found Stanko who appears to […]

Photo: Explore Jasper

A 63-year-old Jasper Alberta man is dead following a climbing accident in Jasper National Park.

The victim has been identified as Steven Stanko.

CTV News is reporting police responded to a call around 4 p.m. last Thursday, when they arrived they found Stanko who appears to have fallen approximately 30 metres, he died on scene. Stanko was climbing with another man and a local couple when he fell.

Police say the incident is not considered suspicious, and no further information will be released.

-with files from CTV News


A small plane that crashed after taking off from Medicine Hat, Alta., was returning to Saskatchewan following a party to celebrate an upcoming wedding, says the mother of one of the three people who died.

Nancy Filteau confirms her son, Justin Filteau, 26, a Saskatchewan football player and judo competitor, died when the plane went down on its way to Moose Jaw late Saturday.

"The last picture I got of him was he was in the airplane -- the private plane -- and he had the headset and everything on, and he said, 'This is cool. Maybe I have to become a pilot, too, now!"'

"He had a zest for life and he filled every waking moment with everything and anything he could do."

The Transportation Safety Board said it was deploying a team of investigators to the crash site to determine what happened to the plane, which the board said was an American Aviation AA-5B.

RCMP spokesman Curtis Peters said the plane took off around 10:15 p.m. from Medicine Hat Regional Airport en route to Moose Jaw, Sask.

Peters said the flight was scheduled to be about 90 minutes long, but when it did not arrive, a search for the aircraft began. He said the plane was found Sunday morning in Irvine, Alta., about 30 kilometres east of Medicine Hat.

All three people aboard were pronounced dead.

Filteau said the other two crash victims were friends of her family's.

Justin Filteau played football for his high school, and later for the Saskatoon Hilltops and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, winning numerous championships.

A machinist by trade who lived in Saskatoon, his mother said Filteau believed in giving back to the sport, and coached the Valkyries, a women's football team in the Western Women's Canadian Football League.

He also competed in judo like his mother, a former member of Canada's Olympic judo team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Seal pups are released back into the ocean from Iona Beach in Richmond, B.C.,

An environmental group says Canada needs to up its game on protecting its oceans.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society says in a report that while there has been progress in recent years, recommendations from international scientific bodies suggest there's more work to do.

"At least 30 per cent should be protected if we want to ensure all the habitats are protected and that we're securing the future of healthy oceans," Sabine Jessen, director of the group's ocean program, said Monday.

The report says protecting ocean areas includes banning oil, gas or mineral projects, not dumping waste and ruling out bottom-trawling fisheries.

Jessen credits the federal Liberal government for improvements in recent years.

Two years ago, less than one per cent of Canada's seas were under some form of conservation agreement. That figure has since risen to more than eight per cent.

Jessen suggested Canada is likely to exceed its protection target of 10 per cent by next year, more than meeting its international commitments.

But that goal, part of a multilateral treaty signed by 168 countries, had more to do with politics than science, she said.

"It was based on the fact there was so little protected, but people knew something had to be done," Jessen said.

"It's been a good spur to action, but we know that we're changing the ocean and we really need to protect the places that still have some healthy ecosystems in them."

She points out groups such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature — one of the largest associations of governments and scientists in the world — suggest greater efforts are needed.

"They had looked at the evidence of what would be needed and they passed a resolution that at least 30 per cent of the ocean should be protected."

The report says Canada is falling behind many of its international peers. Among the 10 countries with the largest marine economic zones, Canada ranks seventh. The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom all rank higher.

Jessen acknowledges some of those countries have large protected areas off overseas territories. As well, degrees of protection vary.

But the rankings do show what is possible, she said.

The report says Canada could get more than halfway toward the 30 per cent goal simply by completing projects already in the works to protect marine areas.

The report notes that saving Canada's seas is also good business. It quotes Statistics Canada figures that indicate more than 100,000 Canadian jobs are directly tied to fisheries and nearly 60,000 to ocean ecotourism.

Climate change makes the job even more urgent, Jessen said.

"We're changing the Earth. We need to protect the Earth."

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during their appeals trial in Calgary, Alta.

A new trial is to begin for an Alberta couple who used homemade remedies instead of seeking medical help for their toddler who died of bacterial meningitis.

A jury in 2016 found David and Collet Stephan guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life for 19-month-old Ezekiel.

The Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the ruling, but the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the convictions and ordered a second trial.

Court heard the parents treated their son with a tincture of garlic, onion and horseradish added to a smoothie. They believed he had croup, an upper airway infection, and that he seemed to improve at times.

Witnesses testified that the toddler's body was so stiff he couldn't sit in a car seat and had to lie down while his mother drove him to a naturopathic clinic in Lethbridge, where she bought him an echinacea mixture.

The parents eventually called 911 but the boy died after he was transported to a hospital in Calgary.

David Stephan has been representing himself and his wife during court matters in the case over the past year. He has said they can't afford to hire lawyers.

In January, a Calgary judge refused a request from the couple for $4 million to pay for past and future legal bills and to delay their retrial.

One expert worries that the continuing court case gives David Stephan a platform to debate natural and alternative medicine.

"I think it's become even more important since 2016, because the problem of misinformation has intensified," said Tim Caulfield, research director of the University of Alberta’s Health Law and Science Policy Group.

Canadian Army personnel ride through town after its capture from the Germans during the Second World War in Falaise, France, on August 17,1944.

D-Day: the letter stands for nothing, but the term itself represents a great deal more.

It conjures indelible images of landing craft speeding towards the beaches of Normandy. Of ramps lowering and soldiers being mowed down by withering German machine-gun fire. Of troops pressing forward in the face of certain death and driving the Nazis from the beaches.

Of freedom and democracy prevailing — eventually — over tyranny and evil.

Millions of Canadians will stop on June 6 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of that pivotal event, which saw Canada stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. and Britain in smashing through Hitler's supposedly impregnable Atlantic Wall on the coast of France, marking the beginning of the end of the Second World War.

Yet as dramatic and harrowing as D-Day was for the 14,000 Canadian soldiers who eventually landed on Juno Beach that day, and the thousands more sailors and airmen supporting them, it was only the beginning. Over the next three months, the Canadians would score victories but also suffer defeats — some of which would tarnish Canada's reputation for decades.

Indeed, the Canadians would be criticized during the war and after for being slow, poorly trained and inept in the days and weeks immediately after D-Day — particularly for their role in a key operation known as the Falaise Gap. Only in recent years have historians started to question that view, saying such assessments are inaccurate and paint over the very real challenges that the Canadians faced in Normandy.

"There's a lot of complaints about the Canadians in Normandy as the campaign goes on — that we're not aggressive enough, that we aren't all that good, that closing the Falaise Gap is our failure," says former Canadian War Museum head Jack Granatstein.

"I think you can make a case for that. But you can also point fingers at the British and the Americans too. The reality is we were fighting a first-class army and the Germans were very, very good.... Everybody knew it was going to be a bugger of a fight."

D-Day has come to be seen as a triumph for Canadian troops, who were able to push farther inland on June 6, 1944, than any other Allied force. The next four days, however, were arguably just as important as the Germans tried to prevent the allies from establishing a foothold on the European mainland by pushing them back into the sea.

It was here that the Canadians, along with their British comrades, faced their first round of criticism. Specifically, the feeling at the time and for years afterward was that the Anglo-Canadians were slow and inept, as evidenced by their failure to quickly capture several key objectives such as the city of Caen and the airfield at Capriquet.

Those same criticisms resurfaced in relation to the Falaise Gap, where the Canadians struggled in August 1944 to cut off the retreat of two German armies that were being encircled by the allies. The gap would eventually be closed, leading to the capture of 50,000 German soldiers, but tens of thousands of others managed to escape to fight again.

"It is not difficult to put one's finger upon occasions in the Normandy campaign when Canadian formations failed to make the most of their opportunities," Canada's official Second World War historian C.P. Stacey wrote in 1960, in what would be an oft-cited and repeated view of the Canadian effort in Normandy, which cost 5,000 Canadian lives and left 13,000 wounded or missing.

"In particular, the capture of Falaise was long delayed and it was necessary to mount not one but two set-piece operations for the purpose at a time when an early closing of the Falaise Gap would have inflicted most grievous harm upon the enemy and might even, conceivably, have enabled us to end the war some months sooner than was actually the case."

However, the past 15 years or so have seen historians such as Marc Milner of the University of New Brunswick's Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society take a second look at such assessments, part of a growing consensus that such criticisms of the Canadian performance during the 77-day Normandy campaign are off the mark.

Milner has argued that the primary task for Canadian soldiers in the days immediately after June 6 was not to capture huge swaths of territory, but to blunt the inevitable tank-driven counterattacks the Germans would inevitably launch following the D-Day landings. As evidence, he notes the Canadians had nearly twice as much artillery and heavy guns than any other unit.

"It's only the panzers that can stop the D-Day landings," says Milner, whose 2014 book "Stopping the Panzers" was based on his extensive research. "So the expectation is the Germans will launch a massive panzer and mechanized (attack) on the flat ground north and west of Caen. And we're the people who stop the panzers from destroying the D-Day operation."

Milner's assessment has gained acceptance among other Canadian historians, who have also started to question the long-held view Canadian troops were poorly trained and led in Normandy.

There has also been pushback on the notion that the Canadians somehow failed the Allied cause when they were slow in closing the Falaise Gap two months later, with historians arguing that past assessments did not take into account various factors such as the German's skill and experience.

"They're slow because they're fighting through very difficult terrain and against a very determined enemy," says Canadian War Museum historian Tim Cook, adding the Canadians had been fighting non-stop for weeks by that point.

"(The Canadians) are constantly fighting and they're short of fuel and they're short of men and they've been fighting hard. ... I think of the words of one of the Canadians who was there who said: 'It wasn't slow for us.'"

Photo: The Canadian Press

Evacuees from Pikangikum First Nation will be taken to host cities in two provinces on Sunday while a wildfire continues to grow near the northwestern Ontario community.

The Canadian Armed Forces said late Saturday it had evacuated about 1,500 people from the fly-in community 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, with most landing in Sioux Lookout and Kapuskasing, Ont.

A spokesman for the town of Sioux Lookout said evacuees who were airlifted out of Pikangikum on Sunday would be transported directly to Winnipeg, while most of those who have already arrived in Sioux Lookout would be taken to larger communities such as Thunder Bay and Timmins.

Brian MacKinnon said about 19 evacuees would be staying in a hotel in Sioux Lookout because being transported again could jeopardize their health, while seven others were in hospital as a precaution.

"We've been working extremely hard to ensure that families stick together and are not broken up," MacKinnon said.

"The evacuees that have come through Sioux Lookout are tired, and of course they're concerned for their community and loved ones. But generally in good spirits, I think, considering the circumstances."

The military said those most at risk to the effects of smoke from the wildfire, such as children and seniors, have already been evacuated.

Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said the fire, which started on Wednesday, grew to just over 36 square kilometres on Saturday — about 3,600 hectares — and remains out of control, but favourable winds were keeping it away from the community.

The Manitoba government said in a statement Sunday that it is working with the Ontario and federal governments, as well as the Canadian Red Cross, to co-ordinate temporary housing and services to evacuees.

Red Cross spokesman Jason Small said evacuees from Pikangikum started arriving in Winnipeg on Sunday afternoon and will be put up in hotels.

There was no rain in today's Environment Canada forecast for Sunday, however periods of rain and showers are expected Monday and Tuesday. Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement for the Pikangikum area Sunday morning, warning that people in the vicinity "should be on the lookout for adverse weather conditions and take necessary safety precautions."

Alvin Fiddler, grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents 49 First Nation communities across northern Ontario, has said the forest fire damaged the broadband communications line running through the Pikangikum area, knocking out phone and internet service.

Fiddler said he was co-ordinating evacuations efforts from Thunder Bay and that the city is prepping community centres for evacuees to sleep and have access to food and water.

He said officials in the host communities were also discussing how to address mental health concerns from the evacuees and trying to provide services for them.

"There's a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress," said Fiddler. "The threat of the fire is still very real."

Photo: The Canadian Press

Community officials say thousands of fire evacuees from High Level, Alta., as well as the surrounding areas of Mackenzie County and several Dene Tha' First Nation communities will be allowed to return home on Monday.

The announcement was made on the Town of High Level's Facebook page today, and was accompanied by a video with municipal leaders from the town, county and First Nation, along with Premier Jason Kenney.

High Level Mayor Crystal McAteer says in the video that while the mandatory evacuation order that has been in place for two weeks will be lifted, an evacuation alert will remain in place.

She says that means residents should be ready to leave again at short notice if the fire threat returns.

The Chuckegg Creek fire, which has been threatening the area and is the largest wildfire in the province, is close to 2,800 square kilometres in size and remains out of control.

Survivors and families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls are preparing for what's anticipated to be a highly emotional ceremony in Gatineau, Que., on Monday to mark the release of a report that names the issue as nothing short of a "genocide."

In the final report, chief commissioner Marion Buller says the that national inquiry had a short time to do its work but within that period, survivors provided "important truths."

"These truths force us to reconsider where the roots of violence lie, and in doing so, to reconsider the solutions," she writes.

"I hope that knowing these truths will contribute to a better understanding of the real lives of Indigenous people and the violations of their human and Indigenous rights when they were targeted for violence."

Canadians live in a country whose laws and institutions perpetuate violations of these rights, Buller adds, noting they "amount to nothing less than the deliberate, often covert campaign of genocide."

"This is not what Canada is supposed to be about," she says. "It is not what it purports to stand for."

The findings of the federally-funded inquiry are contained within a massive document that focuses on legal issues including policing and the need to effectively respond to human trafficking cases, sexual exploitation and violence, including in the sex industry.

It also stresses the need to ensure that failures in policing, health services and child welfare are not brushed off as failures of the past.

"The reality is that many of the people who testified before the national inquiry have lived through, and continue to heal from, these policies," the report says.

"Many more people are in current conflict with them."

Throughout the course of its mandate, the inquiry has faced numerous challenges.

It was plagued by headlines about staff turnover: two executive directors and its director of research left, and so did lawyers, community-relations workers, and numerous communications staff.

A Metis commissioner from Saskatchewan, Marilyn Poitras, abruptly announced her resignation in July 2017, citing concerns about the commission's structure.

In response to Poitras's resignation, a number of families and advocates called for a reboot of the commission, but Buller maintained the body would remain focused on completing its "tremendously important work."

For its part, the federal government sidestepped calls for a re-set. It's now looking ahead at the report's release.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, who would not speak to the specifics of the report ahead of its public release, said in an interview that the final document is not the end of the journey.

The federal government will now have to up its game in terms of "racism and sexism in policing" and all institutions, as well as accelerate progress on child welfare reforms, she said.

During the government's pre-inquiry sessions ahead of the inquiry's launch, Bennett said the government heard "time and time again" about a legal system that wasn't working for Indigenous women and girls — from reporting to police, to being taken seriously, to the way searches were conducted, to the charges that resulted or didn't.

Similar issues were raised during the course of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's work.

The former chairman of the commission that reported on the legacy of Canada's residential schools, Sen. Murray Sinclair, said his commission heard from numerous women who had been victimized sexually in residential schools who felt they weren't believed by police.

"They were of the view that the officer not only didn't believe them but he, and it was almost always a male, was disrespectful towards them," Sinclair said in a recent interview.

Independent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was Canada's first Indigenous justice minister when the inquiry was launched, said in a recent interview that she anticipates the report will raise the awareness about the ongoing tragedy.

She hopes the report and recommendations will be seriously considered, she said, adding there's no question there are systemic barriers, including racism and bias, in institutions.

"There needs to be justice for Indigenous women," she said.

Families of victims, survivors and advocacy organizations, like the Native Women's Association of Canada, have been calling for years for an inquiry. There has also been a desire for answers on the magnitude of the problem.

In 2005, the association created a database tracking cases and produced a 2010 report documenting 582 missing and murdered Indigenous women.

In 2014, the RCMP released a national overview and pegged the number at nearly 1,200 between 1980 and 2012.

The final report says that despite best efforts to gather information related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, it concludes that "no one knows an exact number."

One minute, it was dangling off the back of an icebreaker into the waters of the High Arctic. The next, the crucial piece of gear was gone.

"We got pinched," recalls Mary-Lynn Dickson. "You're clearing a path, but the ice moves in and we got pinched."

Dickson was the lead scientist on a 2,100-page report just submitted to the United Nations that Canada will use to argue for control over a vast region of the Arctic sea floor.

It was 2016. She was on her third expedition far north of Ellesmere Island, and the ice had just clipped the team's last underwater microphone, called a streamer.

Without it, there was no way to record signals rebounding off the sea floor — the whole point of the trip.

They were hundreds of kilometres from anywhere. The first rule of Arctic science was in force: If something breaks, you fix it or you don't have it.

Dickson threw the ball to her technical team.

"By the next morning they said, 'We can build a new one out of spare parts,'" she says. "We called it the Frankenstreamer. It wasn't pretty, but it worked."

Thanks partly to the Frankenstreamer, Canada makes a strong case that the North Pole is part of its True North, Dickson says.

All coastal nations claim 200 nautical miles off their shores as exclusive economic zones.

Beyond that may lie something call the extended continental shelf. If a country can prove that the shelf exists off its coast and that it's connected to the country's land mass, it can be claimed.

Peering through sometimes thousands of metres of icy water to prod the bottom beneath was what Dickson and her colleagues on the Coast Guard's Louis St. Laurent were trying to do.

The task was large and time was short. The science agenda was packed and almost every hour of the cruise was accounted for.

Researchers looked at the thickness and origin of sediment layers.

They made precise measurements of water depth.

They analyzed geochemistry.

They considered the type, age and structures of rocks hauled from the deep. "They're so precious they're like moon rocks," Dickson says.

They reconstructed how the modern sea floor was built from ancient tectonic plates.

They compared the rocks they were finding with data collected on High Arctic islands.

"It all pulled it together in making a complete package and, I think, convincing arguments as to why this continental margin is part of the land mass," Dickson says. "It's connected to the Canadian continental margin off of Ellesmere Island — physically connected."

All this happened through ice so tough it sometimes stymied two icebreakers and so unpredictable the team lost two locator beacons when the ice pan they were on drifted away. They were recovered nine months later east of Greenland by the Danish navy.

Scientists worked on the St. Laurent's back deck through freezing winds, blizzards, thick fog and bright sun.

"It was beautiful," Dickson says. "I loved it."

Russia and Denmark, which have made competing submissions to the United Nations, also argue that two undersea ridges beneath the Arctic Ocean are connected to their land masses. Maybe they're right, says Dickson.

"They can be. You can all be right. I don't want to speak for the Russians or the Danes, but I think we all agree the Lomonosov Ridge is continental material."

The work, which cost $43 million over the three cruises, is now before the UN commission that is to examine data from the three countries to ensure the science has been done correctly.

It will take years of negotiations between the three to draw any lines on the map. The action will move to meeting rooms and conference centres.

Dickson much preferred the rear deck of a windswept icebreaker. She calls her Arctic sailings a highlight of her career.

"I was 20 years old again on the back of that ship."

Photo: The Canadian Press

Pharmacists say it's time for Canada to restrict access to over-the-counter codeine as the country grapples with an opioid crisis.

There have been renewed calls to limit access of low-dose codeine products, including Tylenol 1 and their generic counterparts, since a pharmacy in Saskatchewan was disciplined for failing to understand how the drug can be abused.

Codeine is an opiate used as a painkiller and to treat coughs but can be misused. In most of Canada, codeine comes in eight-milligram pills, mixed with two other ingredients, that can be purchased without a prescription.

Saskatchewan's College of Pharmacy Professionals recently released details of 15 charges against Dewdney Drugs, a store in Regina's North Central neighbourhood. The pharmacy has since closed.

An inspection revealed that between April 2017 and January 2018, the pharmacy purchased 1.6 million Tylenol 1 tablets.

There was no report of what happened to 1.1 million of them.

Matthew Manz manages a nearby pharmacy and complained about Dewdney Drugs after the store sold a patient he was treating for opioid dependency three bottles of tablets containing codeine in less than a month.

Saskatchewan's pharmacy watchdog determined codeine was that patient's drug of choice.

Manz and some other pharmacists choose not to stock Tylenol 1.

"We're in the middle of this opioid epidemic," said Manz. "We have to be more conscious of what's going on."

"You're doing a harm reduction program within the pharmacy … You're getting people off opioids, but then at the same time you're offering over the counter opioids.

"In my head it didn't make sense."

The Canadian Pharmacists Association supports the move to prescription status. It's also calling for Health Canada to review why low-dose codeine products are used in the first place, since evidence suggests there are better alternatives to manage pain.

The agency is reviewing whether low-dose codeine products should be restricted to prescriptions only. Manitoba made the move in 2016.

Saskatchewan's pharmacy college, citing health risks and the drug's effectiveness compared to non-opioid drugs, said last year that it was considering a ban on the sale of low-dose codeine,

The college's registrar says no decision has been made yet.

Rand Teed, an addictions counsellor near Regina, said cough syrup containing codeine is mixed into drinks to induce euphoria, but with it comes a high risk of overdosing.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has announced a recall of Apricot Power brand apricot seeds and apricot seed meal due to concerns about cyanide poisoning.

The agency says the products, produced by the Markham, Ont.-based company Ecoideas Innovations Inc., contain the natural toxin amygdalin.

The agency says the compound has the potential to release cyanide when the bitter apricot seed kernels are ingested.

It says humans can "detoxify" small amounts of cyanide, but high amounts can be lethal.

No illnesses have been associated with the products, but officials say anyone who has the products in their home should throw them out or return them to the point of purchase.

Symptoms of acute cyanide poisoning include headache, dizziness, confusion, weakness, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, seizures and coma.

A paper bag used to collect the tears of those testifying, to then be burned in a sacred fire, is seen at the final day of hearings at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday April 8, 2018.

The final report of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is calling for broad and widespread changes to the way the justice system handles cases, including standardized response times, better communication with family members and strict protocols to ensure investigations are thorough and complete.

The report is scheduled for release Monday, but a leaked copy was obtained by The Canadian Press, as well as other media outlets. It's the result of a years-long inquiry into the systemic causes of violence against thousands of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, and includes — like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into residential schools before it — a lengthy list of recommendations to address them.

Canadian society has shown an "appalling apathy" towards addressing the issue, say the inquiry's commissioners, who reach the explosive conclusion "that this amounts to genocide."

The report urges all actors in the justice system, including police services, to build respectful working relationships with Indigenous Peoples by "knowing, understanding, and respecting the people they are serving."

Actions should include reviewing and revising all policies, practices, and procedures to ensure service delivery that is culturally appropriate and reflects no bias or racism toward Indigenous Peoples, including victims and survivors of violence, says the report.

During the course of the inquiry, it notes, policing representatives acknowledged the "historic and ongoing harms" that continue to affect First Nations, Metis and Inuit families, as well as the need to make changes to how non-Indigenous and Indigenous police work to protect safety.

The report also concludes that colonial violence, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people has become embedded into everyday life, resulting in many Indigenous people becoming normalized to violence.

The office of Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett declined to comment on the contents of the report until after Monday's ceremony.

"The commission will publicly present its findings and recommendations on June 3rd, and we very much look forward to that," Bennett's office said in a statement. "Out of respect for the independent national inquiry and the families, we won't comment on the details of the final report before then."

Families, however, are finally getting the answers they have been looking for after decades of demanding a national inquiry, the statement noted.

In an interview earlier this week, Bennett said the need to ensure families and survivors weren't let down has always weighed on her. She said the release of the final document will in no way mark the end of the journey.

"You can't hear the stories, you can't sit with them in ceremony without just knowing we have to prevent this," Bennett said. "This is too much hurt and the patterns were there for a long time. We just want to thank the people that started pushing."

Monday's formal release of the commission's findings is sure to be an emotional trial for the families of victims, survivors and advocacy organizations, who called for years for an inquiry to be conducted.

In 2005, the Native Women's Association of Canada created a database tracking cases, and it produced a 2010 report documenting 582 missing and murdered Indigenous women. In 2014, the RCMP released a national overview and pegged the number at nearly 1,200 between 1980 and 2012. Other estimates suggest the true number is far higher.

The inquiry report says that despite best efforts to gather information related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, it concludes that "no one knows an exact number."

"Thousands of women's deaths or disappearances have likely gone unrecorded over the decades, and many families likely did not feel ready or safe to share with the national inquiry before our timelines required us to close registration," the report says.

It says, however, that one of the most telling pieces of information is the amount of people who talked about either their own experiences or their loved ones' publicly for the first time.

"Without a doubt there are many more," it says.

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