Violence against Aboriginal women is a national crisis that requires a national response, but a report tabled this week by the House of Commons standing committee on the Status of Women is only offering vague recommendations, and fails to propose clear federal government action, says Canada’s largest union.
“This committee has heard from over 150 witnesses across the country on the urgency needed to stop violence against Aboriginal women, and they presented this committee a number of solid proposals and recommendations on how it should be done,” said Paul Moist, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. “The Conservative committee members, however, have abused their majority to table a vague report that lacks any vision of federal government leadership in providing First Nations, Métis and Inuit women freedom from violence.”
The report tabled Monday ignores much of the input from First Nations, Métis and Inuit women witnesses and instead includes information not heard during the committee hearings. It offers a woefully incomplete account of the testimony, and only has vague recommendations for the federal government.
“It is inexcusable for the Harper Conservatives to let petty partisan politics taint the work done by this committee,” said Moist. “The expertise and insight of the Aboriginal women who testified for this committee must be heard.”
New Democrats have prepared a dissenting opinion that points out the many failings of the Status of Women report and offers clear alternative recommendations. The NDP is calling for a coordinated approach between governments and Aboriginal peoples on addressing violence and underlying social issues, such as poverty, education, housing and finding ways to empower First Nations, Métis and Inuit women.