Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson issued the following statement on receiving the final report from the Alberta Joint Working Group on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls:
“Alberta’s government is committed to preventing and reducing the risk of violence committed against Indigenous women and girls.”
“I am pleased to have received the final report and recommendations from the Alberta Joint Working Group on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The completion of this report marks an important milestone in our work to build a safer province for Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.”
“My heart goes out to all those who struggle with the unspeakable loss of their loved ones. Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people deserve a future of safety, respect, and possibility. Alberta’s government is committed to making this a reality. We will review the final report and develop concrete and meaningful actions that will make Alberta a safer place for Indigenous women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, and all people in Alberta.”
“Thank you to the co-chairs, members, and Elders for their knowledge, lived experience, insight, and compassion into this important matter. I am grateful for the commitment and care they have shown over these last 20 months to deliver recommendations to address the terrible tragedy of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people who continue to go missing or are found murdered.”
“Now that Alberta’s government has received the working group’s final report, we will take the time necessary to study their recommendations and determine the next steps.”
“Alberta’s government is committed to true, meaningful reconciliation. We continue to work toward implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s provincial calls to action, and work is well underway in fulfilling 24 of the 29 that fall under provincial responsibility.”
A final report which the Bonnyville Friendship Centre is pleased with.
Janet Gobert is the Community Initiatives Coordinator at the Bonnyville Friendship Centre.
“Our government recognized this need and that progress is continuously being made however knowing that the Government of Canada recognizes this tragedy as a genocide we still have concerns regarding timelines for solutions,” Gobert told Lakeland Connect.
However, Gobert still has some questions for the government.
“When will something concrete arise? What are the next steps and how will they contribute to a safer future for our Indigenous women and girls? The Bonnyville Friendship Centre hopes that this announcement will lead to more definitive change and are excited to be a part of this important movement,” Gobert said.
The Bonnyville Friendship Centre currently receives Federal and Provincial funding for the Human Trafficking Prevention Project and Restorative Justice Program.
“Which our efforts (myself and Ms.Kwiatkowski) directly address the root issues of this ongoing genocide,” Gobert said. “In addition, we are thankful for the Provincial funding that enables the Bonnyville Friendship Centre to offer health and support services to survivors and their families and to commemorate the lives and legacies of Indigenous Women and Girls through our MMIWG Vigils and relative programming.”
In the future going forward, the Bonnyville Friendship Centre sees the need for further education and increased funding.
“Ms. Kwiatkowski and I hope to implement educational programs which will not only inform the public about the issues surrounding and reducing the risk of violence committed against Indigenous women and girls from the Working Group on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls but also in programs which will empower women and girls in the workplace,” Gobert said. “Most specifically breaking barriers for Indigenous women in the workforce (STEM) through mentorship and skill development.”
Gobert says it is encouraging that recognition has been made to improve oversight and awareness, especially in trauma-informed care, gender-based violence, and cultural awareness.
“Violence prevention and victim support is an area in which we have expended many of our resources, most specifically our Restorative Justice Program and we are thankful for the government’s contribution to this and will be seeking further funding to further our endeavors,” Gobert said. “We appreciate that the government recognizes the need for much more work to be done and are anticipating further announcements in this area to be made.”