The idea that men and boys should be added to the national inquiry into murdered and missing women gained support recently from a Chilliwack-area Sto:lo leader.
But it doesn’t look like the expanded mandate will ultimately materialize.
The Chilliwack Progress contacted the office of the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to determine if there was any chance the MMIW inquiry would be expanded in scope to include men and boys.
Indigenous affairs minister Carolyn Bennett replied with a statement underlining that the inquiry is already underway.
The inquiry is “truly national and independent,” she wrote.
“All kinds of violence are wrong no matter the gender-identity of the person,” said the Minister in a statement.
“However, there has been a specific and ongoing call — from both domestic and international partners and stakeholders — to address the high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.”
The Commissioners of the MMIW inquiry, the five chosen to conduct the inquiry, will be studying the “systems and institutions” with a mandate to report on “all underlying causes and systemic issues that contribute to the violence that Indigenous women and girls are experiencing, including examining institutional policies and practices, such as policing and child welfare.”
So will the commissioners formally look at the cases of murders and missing men and boys?
“The inquiry will no doubt shed light on some of the important issues surrounding the high rates of violence against Indigenous men,” was the reply from Minster Bennett to The Progress.
But that answer from INAC did not go far enough for Cheam Chief Ernie Crey.
“I am glad they acknowledged the high rates of violence against Indigenous men,” he said
“However, it’s not just violence against Indigenous men, it’s also the deaths and disappearances of both men and boys.”
The commissioners “will need to come to terms with this issue because the advocates for both men and boys will no doubt be loud and insistent leading up to and during the MMIW Inquiry,” Crey added.
“We can’t forget the world’s major media outlets will be covering the MMIW Inquiry,” and therefore all eyes will be on the process as it unfolds.