After hours of debate Thursday, the Assembly of First Nations voted against the resignation of beleaguered commissioners for the federal inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls — and that decision is coming as a relief for some Northern leaders.
More than 60 per cent of delegates voted against a resolution which would have required the AFN to ask the Prime Minister that the commissioners be replaced.
The AFN did, however, vote in favour of several changes to the inquiry process.
Therese Villeneuve, South Slave Regional Director of the Native Women’s Association of the N.W.T., says that people were looking forward to hearings in the Northwest Territories and supported the commissioners staying on.
“When the announcement was made that the inquiry was going to be made, we were full of hope and expectations. There is bound to be disappointment. And that’s what’s happening now. And we do agree that we should evaluate it. It should regroup and continue on and not to resign altogether,” she said.
‘We want to continue with it’
The vote also comes as a relief to the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council
Doris Anderson, the council’s president, was watching the meeting in Regina this week. She says the inquiry’s public hearings in Whitehorse have been valuable and she’s glad it will continue.
“In the Yukon, we do not want this inquiry to stop,” she said. “We want to go forward with it. It started in the Yukon, the families want it and we want to continue with it.”
Anderson singled out one commissioner in particular: Michèle Audette, the former head of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.
“If anything there’s one commissioner we don’t want to see resign and that’s commissioner Audette. She’s more grassroots and understands who we are,” said Anderson. “She is somebody we would certainly hate to lose.”