March 17, 2022
Recently, the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) released a new report titled “The Toxic Culture of the RCMP: Misogyny, Racism, and Violence against Women in Canada’s National Police Force”, which reviews major studies detailing the “evidence of RCMP failures to prevent and investigate violence against women”, including the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
FAFIA uses an international human rights law lens to conclude that Canada is “failing to meet its obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of women”, particularly Indigenous women. Ultimately, the report asserts that:
“Canada cannot develop a credible National Action Plan on Violence Against Women, or an effective response to the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, unless it undertakes an independent, external, and thorough review of its national police force – its practices, culture, and future.”
The National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC) stands by this finding. The ongoing genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people is perpetuated by a lack of action to fulfill the 231 Calls for Justice outlined in the National Inquiry’s Final Report, as well as a lack of accountability by all governments, institutions, and organizations to guarantee the safety and security of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.
This failure to be accountable and act on its duty to investigate is demonstrated by the Vancouver Police Department’s (VPD) shocking decision to close the investigation of Chelsea Poorman, a 24-year-old Cree woman whose remains were recently found in a wealthy Vancouver neighbourhood in late April after being missing for two years. The fact that multiple sources, including Chelsea’s mother, state that VPD did not treat her initial disappearance with necessary urgency is a testament to the fact that police forces do not act with due diligence to investigate and prevent violence against women.
All authorities and police forces must do better to protect Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, and must ensure every case is thoroughly investigated and properly resourced. Failing this can result in missteps and obstruct efforts that can lead to justice. In addition, families and survivors must receive all necessary supports as they experience these tragedies and crises.
As we approach the first anniversary of the release of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ National Action Plan, the NFSC calls for political will and accountability by all governments and institutions to redress and urgently implement the National Action Plan and the 231 Calls for Justice. Anything less will perpetuate the genocide, gender-based violence and the human cost faced by Indigenous women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, families, and survivors of race- and gender-based violence.