for immediate release
QNW Demands a National Action Plan on Violence Against Aboriginal Women
Kahnawake, July 6, 2011 – On July 4 and 5, 2011, the federal, provincial and territorial Women’s status ministers held their 29th annual meeting in Gatineau (Quebec), confirming on this occasion their commitment to eliminate violence against women and increase their economic security. However, the idea of a task force or a national action plan to prevent further violence against Aboriginal women was rejected because, according to Federal minister, Rona Ambrose, “governments at all levels are already doing a lot.”
It thus seems that once again the most vulnerable group in Canadian society when it comes to violence, Aboriginal women, will be forgotten. We would like to recall on this issue that Aboriginal women are still three times more likely to suffer violence than their non-Aboriginal counterparts.
Quebec Native Women (QNW) therefore wishes to denounce this limited and out-dated vision of a pressing and ongoing reality within our communities. Status of Women’s minister in Quebec, Christine St-Pierre, has reiterated the commitment of the provincial government towards Aboriginal women inscribed in different action plans. However, because these actions remain isolated, we believe that a specific and national action plan would be better equipped to deal with the realities and experiences of Aboriginal women that differ greatly from other groups of women due to a long history of colonization and assimilation policies that are still in practice today like the Indian Act.
In the province of Quebec only, we can find 11 shelters for Aboriginal women that are under-funded as they struggle to meet an ever-growing demand. Funding of the Native Women Shelter Network has helped create indispensable tools for prevention, awareness and response to the needs of abused women.
"Governments will never do enough to prevent violence against women, whatever their origins, but we are concerned that the government is putting aside its most vulnerable population, as shown by many alarming statistics. It is zero tolerance for violence against Aboriginal women! "said Michèle Audette, QNW President.
These recent statements from federal and provincial governments will certainly not improve the situation of Aboriginal women in Canada. QNW wishes to emphasize Canada's 63rd World ranking in terms of quality of life of its Indigenous inhabitants, a less than glorious positions considering the fact that Canada ranks 8th among the countries with the highest quality of life for the rest of its citizens, according to the Human Development Index.
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Melissa Mollen Dupuis
Communication officer (intérim)
Tél. :450-632-0088, poste 227