Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Police Chiefs Take No Position on Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Women

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Police Chiefs Take No Position on Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Women

Article excerpt

Police chiefs take no position on native women inquiry

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VICTORIA - The head of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police says the number of missing and murdered aboriginal women is "on the radar" of the county's law enforcement leaders.

But Chief Const. Jim Chu of the Vancouver Police Department, who is the association's outgoing president, avoided taking sides in what has become a highly politicized debate over the need for a national public inquiry.

Hundreds of the nation's top police officers gathered Monday for the start of their annual general meeting in Victoria, where Chu said the association's policing with aboriginal people committee had already met for a couple of days to discuss the issue.

"They've had an extensive discussion on it," said Chu, referring to the committee.

"One thing that hasn't happened is the groups that are calling for the national inquiry have not asked us to support their request. ... The details on the nature of the request and the nature of the inquiry, we need to get them."

Chu said the association will reach out to the Native Women's Association of Canada and other groups to get those details.

"And then we'll come out with a position," said Chu.

The death of teenager Tina Fontaine in Winnipeg has renewed calls for an inquiry.

The petite 15-year-old was found Aug. 17, wrapped in a bag and dumped in the Red River. She had been in Winnipeg less than a month when she ran away from foster care.

Hers is the latest name on a list that the RCMP says includes 1,181 cases of murdered or missing aboriginal women between 1980 and 2012. In a report released earlier this year, the force said aboriginal women make up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, but account for 16 per cent of female homicides and 11.3 per cent of missing women.

"It has been on their radar and they're well aware also of the report the RCMP released with the numbers of missing women, and that's been part of the discussion of that committee as well," Chu said.

Michele Audette, president of the Native Women's Association of Canada, seemed disappointed that the national chiefs shied away from a stance.

She said she would put in a call Tuesday to specifically ask for the association's support. …

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