Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer makes his way to a media availability in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Monday, June 10, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

VIDEO: Andrew Scheer says Canada’s treatment of Indigenous women not a ‘genocide’

Conservative leader says the treatment ‘is its own tragedy, and does not fall into that category’

“Genocide” isn’t the right word to describe what’s been done to generations of Indigenous women and girls in Canada, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Monday.

“I believe that, as most Canadians do, that every single life lost is a tragedy, has a huge impact on families and loved ones and that there are concrete things the government can do, that all levels of government can do, to help protect vulnerable people in our society, specifically Indigenous women and girls,” Scheer said on Parliament Hill.

“That being said, the ramifications of the term ‘genocide’ are very profound. That word and term carries a lot of meaning. I think the tragedy involved with missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is its own thing, it is its own tragedy, and does not fall into that category of genocide.”

The federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls released its final report a week ago. The report says that under international law, a genocide doesn’t need a single directing mind, or to be an organized campaign of violence.

The inquiry’s four commissioners included a long separate argument for why Canada’s “series of actions and omissions,” from residential schools to poor health care to unsafe transportation to indifferent or even hostile policing, have allowed Indigenous women to be targeted in numerous ways that add up to what they called an ongoing genocide.

“Canada has displayed a continuous policy, with shifting expressed motives but an ultimately steady intention, to destroy Indigenous Peoples physically, biologically, and as social units,” through oppressive colonial actions that have persisted since Europeans began settling, the commissioners’ argument says.

The inquiry report says it’s impossible to count the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada accurately. One reckoning by the RCMP found 1,186 applicable cases in its files over the past 30 years alone. The Mounties do not police the whole country, not every missing person is reported and not every death becomes a police matter.

The use of the term “genocide” in the report instantly sparked arguments over whether the inquiry commissioners’ label is accurate and whether those arguments risk obscuring their other findings and the 231 recommendations they made.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not directly answered questions about whether he agrees with that, though he has said he accepts the findings of the report.

Canada signed on to the United Nations’ 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which included commitments to avert and stop genocidal acts and to punish perpetrators. After the latest inquiry report was released, the secretary general of the Organization of American States said he wanted to form an international panel to investigate the claim and achieve justice.

On Sunday, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett told Global Television’s “The West Block” that the Liberal government would support such a call because it believes in the “rules-based international system.”

“The idea that Canada would now be subject to the types of international actions that follow findings of genocide — I think we have to be very careful with the use of that terminology and I don’t want to get distracted from the good work that the report has done,” Scheer said.

“But that being said, I think that the tragedy is its own thing, it is its own heartbreaking situation for every single family that was affected by it, and it does not fall into the category of genocide.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Northwest Wave Riders return from Victoria Dragon Boat Festival

This was the first time in 25 years that northern B.C. teams competed

Feds approve $4M for Tahltan protected and conserved areas

Well defined stewardship will help nation reduce uncertainties for resource partners

BC Parks student rangers complete several northwest B.C. conservation projects

This was the first time the summer program operated out of Terrace

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Most Read