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LETTER: Action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women falls short

Letter-writer says federal government plan needs funding for community security initiatives and policing enhancements, among other things
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Last week, the Liberal Government of Canada touted its much delayed action plan called for by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous girls and women in this country.

The plan promises "transformative change" to end systemic racism and violence against Indigenous citizens; its success is determined by how effectively it helps create a Canada where women and girls "live free from violence, and are celebrated, honoured, respected, valued, safe and secure."

It speaks of creating public awareness campaigns to confront racial bigotry and other social ills, providing more shelters and transitional housing, healing programs, and even a universal basic income. All of these things are certainly helpful.

But nowhere does the government's plan even attempt to provide some of that promised $2.2 billion funding towards community security initiatives and policing enhancements.

It stands to reason that a thorough criminal analysis behind the disappearances and murders would go a long way to targeting any criminal organizations preying upon young girls and women and determining how many of the crimes were performed by sex traffickers versus individual sexual predators.

According to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, while Indigenous women "are significantly more likely to be killed by male partners than non-Indigenous women," they also suffer a high degree of murder "by male acquaintances and strangers."

A higher "risk of violence experienced by Indigenous women and girls" comes "from a failure of police and (the) justice system to adequately respond to or provide for the needs of Indigenous women and girls."

A national emergency number is an excellent idea but it could be paired with 'walk-safe' programs, rides, and an increased Indigenous police presence inside the communities.

Perhaps a revised policing approach would be best, combined with grants, scholarships, and free tuition for people seeking careers in law enforcement and security. The government might've considered funding self defence and martial arts programs for Indigenous communities as another means of protection.

These would be the least Ottawa could do.

Christopher Mansour