Trigger warning: this statement contains discussion and themes that may be retraumatizing for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people, and survivors of violence.
NWAC is deeply disappointed that Bill S-215, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code (sentencing for violent offences against Indigenous women) was defeated at the Second Reading of the House of Commons on Tuesday April, 10. Introduced in 2015 by Senator Lillian Eva Dyck, Bill S-215 represented recognition of the fact that Canada’s colonial history means that crimes happen to Indigenous women for distinct reasons, and seeks to have violent offenders punished accordingly.
The causes and outcomes of violence against Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people are often the product of Canada’s legacy of colonialism and genocide. The bill recognized that because crimes happen to Indigenous women for different reasons, they require a different response.
As a supporter of this bill, NWAC hoped it would be an important step forward with respect to the urgent issues Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people face today such as heightened likelihood of disappearance, human trafficking, violent crimes, and forced and coerced sterilization. NWAC hoped the House of Commons would see Bill S-215 as a step towards justice for Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people who face so much discrimination in Canada’s legal system.
Reconciliation requires that Canada recognize the harmful impacts of colonialism, and take tangible action to enable safety and justice for Indigenous women. Words and promises are meaningless without action. Reconciliation is not achieved through empty promises.
Indigenous women have been denied justice in the colonial system for far too long, and we will not forget or stand by quietly while it continues to happen.
For more information please contact Lucy Juneau – Director of Communications
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