In addition to B.C. child advocate Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, two aboriginal women with deep connections to B.C. are being mentioned locally as choices to conduct a national inquiry on missing and murdered aboriginal women.
If the probe were to be undertaken by three women, children and family welfare champion Cindy Blackstock and lawyer and gender-equality advocate Sharon McIvor seem to be thought able to work well with Turpel-Lafond.
The federal government announced on December 8 that it will consult families of missing and murdered women about how the inquiry will proceed. Ottawa hasn’t made any decision on who will be in charge of the investigation.
Turpel-Lafond is in her second term as B.C.’s first representative for children and youth. Ernie Crey, a Sto:lo Tribal Council adviser who lost his sister Dawn, put forth her name three weeks ago.
Blackstock is a member of B.C.’s Gitxsan First Nation. She is the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and an associate professor at the University of Alberta. Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, mentioned Blackstock’s name in a phone interview with the Straight on December 8.
McIvor, who belongs to the Lower Nicola Indian Band, initiated a complaint against Canada before the U.N. several years ago regarding gender bias against women in the Indian Act. Community organizer Fay Blaney, cochair of this year’s February 14 women’s memorial march in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, suggested McIvor during an interview.
“The inquiry should be headed by indigenous women,” Blaney told the Straight by phone.
For his part, Phillip said: “Those are names that I’ve heard and think would do a good job, but I would suspect in different regions across the country, there are other names of women that will be brought forward.”