News / Ottawa

Families argue for reset on missing and murdered women inquiry

Commissioner leaves the missing, murdered Indigenous women inquiry— the latest high-ranking staff member to resign.

John Fox believes his daughter was murdered and said it's time for the government to reset the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Ryan Tumilty / Metro

John Fox believes his daughter was murdered and said it's time for the government to reset the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

With a commissioner now joining the high-profile resignations from the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, family members say it’s time to reset and start again.

John Fox, whose daughter Cheyenne died under suspicious circumstances, said the inquiry has become like Humpty Dumpty, broken and incapable of repair.

“With all the available resources, the expertise, the money — they can’t put it together,” he said.

Commissioner Marilyn Poitras, one of five appointed to the inquiry, resigned in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that became public Tuesday. Her resignation follows the departure of five high-ranking staff members in recent weeks.

Fox said the inquiry hasn’t been designed with families of the missing and murdered in mind.

“They lost the grassroots’ touch and they’re going to continue failing,” he said. “They might have a chance if they reset it, if they reviewed the terms of reference again and included more of the families’ involvement.”

Fox said the existing terms show that the inquiry was not meant to produce real change.  

“It’s designed not to go anywhere, and that’s exactly where it’s going: nowhere.”

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said that, despite the resignations, she believes the inquiry will be able to press ahead.  

“I can assure families the commissioners continue to be passionate about their work and are dedicated to finding solutions to end the violence against indigenous women and girls.”

She said she met with the remaining commissioners on Monday and is confident they have a plan to deliver an initial report in November. She said the inquiry has so far lacked a clear communications plan. She is hopeful that will change.

“Successful commissions bring Canadians with them as they go and that has not been done to date,” Bennett said.

Bennett said despite the struggle, she is hearing that families don’t want the commission to stall or restart.

“A lot of families are saying to me this has to continue,” she said.

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