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

PHOTOS: Snoozing seal pup captures attention at White Rock Pier

Dozens of seals spent the day at White Rock’s iconic structure

Missing person found safe: Surrey RCMP

Hyung ‘John’ Lee has been found safe

Pair of proposed Guildford highrises coming to public hearing Monday

City of Surrey received 229-signature petition opposing the plan

‘Stuff the Sleigh’ event aims to collect 5,000 Christmas toys for Surrey children

The Surrey Central Lions Club event will support the Surrey Christmas Bureau

Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was pressed to clarify his stance abortion over several weeks

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blank Cougars 4-0

Goaltender David Tendeck turned aside all 38 Prince George shots for his WHL-leading third shutout

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Dallas Smith, Terri Clark to perform on CP Holiday Train’s B.C. stops

Annual festive food bank fundraiser rolling across province from Dec. 11 to 17

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Paul Bissonnette joins Vancouver Warriors after tweeting he could walk on to an NLL club

Bissonnette will join the Warriors for their final week of training camp at Rogers Arena

Most Read