The federal government has tabled its response to the report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The $2-billion action plan intends to tackle the inequalities Indigenous people face when dealing with the justice system.
“To work with you to make sure your voices are heard and to end the violence and the abuse,” said Justin Trudeau during the announcement.
21-year-old Lisa Young of Nanaimo, reported missing in 2002, is among the cases without justice. Young’s aunt says Lisa’s mom initially concealed her daughter’s Indigenous background.
“My sister didn’t want people to know that at first because they thought she would be treated differently,” said Carol Martin.
Martin says she believes the action plan announced today is a step in the right direction.
“I’m happy to see them putting money forward, especially for language and culture,”
The prime minister today acknowledged the national plan won’t fix everything, suggesting that there are “no investments that can bring back the lives lost or that can heal people’s pain.”
Trudeau, however, outlined on Thursday that Ottawa is trying to do better.
“We’re taking a step forward together to make the transformative change necessary to end this national tragedy,” the prime minister said.
The government is pledging more than $2 billion dollars over five years in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The money will be earmarked to improve law enforcement training, revitalize Indigenous languages, transform the delivery of health care and designate Indigenous policing as an essential service.
“A lot of reactive measures in terms of health care, policing, RCMP relationships that stuff is all good, I don’t see a lot of commitment towards preventative measures,” said Carla Voyageur a Cofounder of the Lil’ Red Dress Project in the Comox Valley.
The Comox Valley group has helped Vancouver Island families of missing Indigenous women with publicizing their cases.
“Any direction is a good direction unfortunately there’s a lot of work to be done and I don’t know if it’s ever enough at this point especially in light of the recent events such as the massacre findings of the 215 children,” said Voyageur.
Even though the plan may not be everything some hoped the government says it’s not set in stone and will evolve to meet the needs of families and survivors.
With files to CBC