National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
E LaMont Gregory
… balancing civil liberties and public safety, and justice with the truth
The participation in murder by those under the colour of authority, however, is not the cruelest understanding of the high incidence of unsolved missing and murdered indigenous women and girls to be arrived at.
The fact is that in many instances the disappearance or murder of indigenous women presents a multi-jurisdictional dimension. There is a dramatic fall off in the solution of crimes when they involve more than one jurisdiction, and this is largely a function of both resources and the amount of expertise that can be allocated to any one case. As the size of the area that has to be covered increases, so does the material and people power costs of the investigation, and in relation to the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls cases, it is not for the most part the single jurisdictional cases that remain unsolved.
This author can only trust that the members of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will read the previous paragraph properly and with due regard. E LaMont Gregory
A balancing act, by definition, describes a conscious attempt, in often difficult situations, to try to maintain what we cherish, when faced with circumstances that suggest that at least for a period of time, we may have to give up what we cherish today in order to ultimately preserve what we cherish in the long term.
For example, a government's attempt to provide security for its citizens against indiscriminate acts of terror (insurgency), involves, in the minds of some, a need to curtail civil liberties, that is, to impose special measures which may infringe upon basic charter rights and freedoms, in order to go after those who would upset the peace and security of the nation.
Recently, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, addressed the conundrum between liberty and security with these words:
“All Canadians expect their government to do two things: to keep Canadians safe and to defend and uphold the values and rights that all Canadians hold dear. Getting the balance right isn’t always easy … but it’s extremely important.”
Richard Fadden, the outgoing head of CSIS, whose last two years in office were spent, let us say in language that is kind, monitoring the terrorist debacle in British Columbia, suggested that special measures were necessary, and a curtailment in civil liberties was justified, in fact inevitable, in order to preserve national security.
It will have not gone unnoticed that in the incident in Ottawa, which local police describe as their acting in the last possible moment, was the result of US authorities, the FBI, having monitored the internet postings of the suspect and when the suspect made a public pledge to the leader of ISIS, the FBI notified the Canadian authorities who acted on the information.
The FBI had come to learn that in most cases involving acts of terror carried out by the so-called self-radicalized, occur within 24 hours of their public posting of their allegiance to the ISIS leader. The suspect posted the pledge and the FBI informed the Ottawa authorities accordingly.
At this juncture some authors would say that this is not rocket science, but this author would disagree. This is exactly what rocket science is; a matter of trajectory.
Once you know where you are, and where the target is, projecting the missile or other air or space craft from the former to the latter is straightforward, it is rocket science.
In a discussion of balancing safety and liberty, the fact that the FBI routinely monitors (remembering that a routine only works when deployed systematically) the internet postings of Canadian citizens and non-Canadians domiciled in Canada might be important. What is known is that Harper and Fadden, the former Prime Minister and the former head of CSIS, cooperated with the Patriot Act request (demand) from American security officials to an extent that sober reflection cannot reconcile.
The notion that liberty and security occupy the opposite faces of the same coin is a false one (there is no duality in truth), as both liberty and security stand or fall under there own weight. Once you accept the argument of either or, you have already sacrificed some liberty. Security threats will come and go, wax and wan, but charter rights and freedoms are so important to mounting a defense when one must be mounted that to weaken liberty in anyway is to court disaster.
In a recent report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, detailing the decades-long abuse of some 150k aboriginal children required to attend Christian schools, (schools which were established with the specific purpose to rid First Nation children of their native cultures and languages and integrate them into mainstream Canadian society), describes the residential schools system as one of the "darkest and most troubling chapters in our (Canadian) collective history."
The report is the result of a six-year long study of Canada's former government policy requiring Canadian aboriginals to attend the schools, often the scenes of physical and sexual abuse.
There is mounting evidence to substantiate, what some First Nation leaders have maintained for decades, and that is that the legacy of abuse and isolation is an attributive, if not a root cause of an epidemic of substance abuse in First Nation society.
And, because of an inability (for those traumatized from being torn from the safety of their homes as children generation after generations by the residential school policy) to foster certain self-preservation characteristics in generations of their young, there is at least an associative link, although largely unexplored, with the high rate of suicides in those same communities.
From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 aboriginal children were required to attend Christian schools to rid them of their native cultures, traditions and languages. A policy propagated with the noble sounding goal of their integration into mainstream Canadian society, where they would be welcomed once they were de-First-Nationized.
More than 130 residential schools operated across Canada.
The shooting death of a First Nation youth at the hands of a prairie farmer at the dawn of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) portends.
The National Inquiry into the unsolved missing and murdered Indigenous women, like the commission into the residential school 'cultural genocide' is structured to explore underlying causes, not to specifically solve the missing and murder cases.
One might state that these are two different possible inquiries.
If, the goal was to address the missing and unsolved murder cases, then a series of Major Incident, Cold Case Task Forces would have been established to pursue each and every case as an ordinary, or extraordinary, police investigation.
Under those circumstances there would be two rather distinct classes of unsolved murder cases, namely, those cases in which the murder or murders were committed by a member or members of the indigenous community itself, and those in which the murder or murders were committed by a person or persons from outside the indigenous community.
In a straightforward series of murder investigations, given the large number of cases involved, the Major Incident (MI) Task Forces would be aided by a wealth of murder case statistics developed over the years. This by the numbers analysis reveals some interesting facts about the unsolved murders and their perpetrators.
One fact, some indigenous women unsolved murder cases in the BC area of Vancouver were, without a doubt, victims to one or both of the serial killers that were prolific in that area, over two periods where the incidence of missing and unsolved murder cases among indigenous women peaked.
And, there is a distinct possibility that some of the indigenous women died at the hands of a serial killer from Alaska, who had crisscrossed the United States and Canada and killed on the east coast as well as the west and many places in between.
The reasons people commit murder are in the sense of the science of criminology well known.
Again, a by the numbers analysis of why young girls are murdered, indigenous or otherwise, shows that a significant number of them are murdered to conceal the nature of an inappropriate relationship. This includes, for the large part relatives, spouses and partners of single mothers, as well as an assortment of rapists, the mentally ill (both acute and chronic) and those who show a propensity for violence, and those whose propensity for violence is largely directed towards females. Prostitution, drugs and gangs also make a significant contribution to the nearly 1200 unsolved cases that constitute the necessity for the current inquiry.
A large percentage (no less than 15%) of those classified currently as missing are in fact murder victims. Nearly half that percentage again were actually taken and forced into the sex trade, and there is a group who were initially runaways, who fell into the mean streets.
One must add to this classification those who by socialization come to view or believe that they are not actually committing a crime when they attack an indigenous female, because they (indigenous females) do not occupy the same social standing (worthiness) as the perpetrator, because they are children of a lesser God, as it were.
There was a period in the United States, for example, when it was impossible to convict a Caucasian male for raping or murdering an African American, Hispanic or Native American woman or girl, regardless of the age of the victim.
And, by the numbers, it will be discovered that a small but statistically significant number of the unsolved murders of indigenous women and girls were committed by those who come into contact with young girls through their remit as acting under the colour of authority. Such occupations as teachers, coaches, probation officers, social workers and those who represent the top of the food chain of those who operate under the colour of authority, those who wear the badge. This fact, as it is stated here, is clear and unequivocal.
The participation in murder by those under the colour of authority, however, is not the cruelest understanding of the high incidence of unsolved missing and murdered indigenous women and girls to be arrived at. The fact is that in many instances the disappearance or murder of indigenous women presents a multi-jurisdictional dimension. And, there is a dramatic fall off in the solution of crimes when they involve more than one jurisdiction, and this is largely a function of both resources and the amount of expertise that can be allocated to any one case. As the size of the area that has to be covered increases, so does the material and people power costs of the investigation, and in relation to the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls cases, it is not for the most part the single jurisdictional cases that remain unsolved.
This author can only trust that the members of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will read the previous paragraph properly and with due regard.
When the present inquiry has run its proper and due course, then the Major Incident, Cold Case Task Forces should be instituted and the missing and unsolved murder cases can then be resolved.
In final analysis, whether we address the issue of the truth of why there is such a high incidence of unsolved missing and murder cases of indigenous women and girls, or, whether we address the issue of justice for the victims and their families, first, will be of little consequence, ultimately. Since there is no statute of limitations for the crime of murder.
As long as in time, we address both truth and justice.