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Prime Minister, key cabinet ministers will be on hand to accept MMIWG final report Monday

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks outside Parliament in December 2017 as MMIWG families look on. (APTN) Kathleen Martens APTN News Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and key cabinet ministers will be on hand to accept the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, […]


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks outside Parliament in December 2017 as MMIWG families look on. (APTN)

Kathleen Martens
APTN News
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and key cabinet ministers will be on hand to accept the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, APTN News has learned.

Carolyn Bennett, the minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations, said she will accompany Trudeau to the closing ceremony Monday along with Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan, Justice Minister David Lametti and possibly others.

But until then, Bennett, who has a copy of the “thick” report, said she won’t be commenting on it.

“My officials are going through it,” she said in a telephone interview Thursday. “It’s quite substantial.”

The contents are under a media blackout until midday Monday when it is officially passed to the government.

The four commissioners are making the contents public in the same place they first met the country – the Great Room of the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que.

Something Bennett said “was important to the Elders.”

The interim report was released Nov. 1, 2017.

APTN has also learned survivors, families and inquiry employees will gather for two days of prayers and ceremonies in the nation’s capital prior to the report’s release.

They will also bless the report.

While Bennett wouldn’t comment on what is to come she did say her government took the contents of the inquiry’s interim report released in November 2017 “very seriously.”

Among the recommendations was a call for a new and/or Indigenous police force to investigate unsolved and ongoing cases of violence against Indigenous women.

It’s a theme Chief Commissioner Marion Buller spoke about earlier this month when she recommended automatic first-degree murder charges for killings of Indigenous women, girls and LGBT people.

“It means criminalizing all men who commit violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people,” the former judge told a parliamentary committee. “What’s wrong with that?”

Buller told Post Media the final report will recommend changes to federal, provincial and territorial laws, as well as band governance under the Indian Act.

Bennett said her government is already working to reform major files that have come up in testimony at the inquiry – child welfare, victim support and policing.

She noted funding has been extended for the “very successful” Family Information Liaison Units and after-care counselling for those who testified.

In fact, after-care will continue for a full year after the report comes out, Bennett added.

“It’s been decades since I started meeting with some of the families,” she said of MMIWG pioneers Gladys Radek and Bernie Williams, among others, who walked, marched and rallied to “make Ottawa aware.”

The Trudeau government formed the two-year inquiry in September 2016 with a budget of $50 million. It twice extended the deadline to deliver recommendations and in the end allotted $92 million.

@katmarte

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