Death of 15-year-old aboriginal girl renews calls for national inquiry
Published Tuesday, August 19, 2014 11:12AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 19, 2014 6:46PM EDT
Calls for a national inquiry into Canada’s murdered and missing aboriginal women are growing louder in the wake of the death of a 15-year-old Manitoba girl.
A vigil took place Tuesday evening to honour Tina Fontaine, whose body was found Sunday wrapped in a bag and dumped in the Red River.
Mourners marched from the docks where her body was found to a monument that honours missing and murdered aboriginal women that was erected in Winnipeg earlier this month.
Fontaine had been living in Winnipeg for less than a month before she ran away from foster care. She was last seen in downtown Winnipeg on Aug. 8 and she reported missing the following day.
Investigators are treating her death as a homicide and are asking anyone with information about her final days to come forward to police.
Fontaine’s grandmother Thelma Fontaine said the family will never be complete without her granddaughter.
“She was part of the puzzle,” Thelma Fontaine told CTV Winnipeg. “Now we have a piece of the puzzle missing.”
Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said Tuesday he met with members of the Winnipeg Police Service to “better understand the recent tragedies on Winnipeg.”
He said on Facebook that he plans to meet with police again on Sept. 4 to build “stronger lines of communication.”
Death renews calls for inquiry
Manitoba Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson said Tuesday that a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women may the only way many families will get closure.
However, Robinson told the Canadian Press that the federal government doesn’t view the matter as a priority.
“I don’t know what their policy advisers are telling them,” he said.
Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement that "our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Ms. Fontaine at this very difficult time."
But MacKay again rejected an inquiry.
"Now is the time to take action, not to continue to study the issue," he said.
In May, the RCMP issued a detailed statistical breakdown of 1,181 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women between 1980 and 2013. The report 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.
With files from The Canadian Press