Transcript: Michele Audette: Standing for Missing Women | Mar 21, 2014

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his forties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and blue tie. Behind him, a wall screen reads “The Agenda, with Steve Paikin.”

Steve says THIS WEEK, FIRST
NATIONS WOMEN AND MEN STOOD ON
TRAIN TRACKS ALONG THE
TORONTO-OTTAWA-MONTREAL RAIL
LINE FORMING BLOCKADES.
IN DOING SO, THEY STOOD UP FOR
THE HUNDREDS OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN
THAT HAVE BEEN MURDERED OR HAVE
GONE MISSING IN CANADA SINCE THE
1960s.
EARLIER THIS MONTH, THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT REJECTED THEIR CALL
FOR A FEDERAL INQUIRY INTO THE
ISSUE.
DESPITE THAT, MANY ABORIGINAL
GROUPS CONTINUE TO CALL FOR THAT
INQUIRY.
JOINING US NOW WITH MORE IN Le
MASSIF, QUEBEC, VIA SKYPE,
MICHèLE AUDETTE.
SHE IS PRESIDENT OF THE NATIVE
WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION OF CANADA.

Michelle appears on screen via Skype. She sits in the living room of a home. She has long straight black hair and wears a black jacket, and earphones.

Steve continues AND MICHELE IT'S GOOD OF YOU TO
JOIN US THIS EVENING.
HOW ARE YOU?

Michelle says VERY GOOD, THANK YOU.

Steve and Michelle appear on split screens with the caption “Standing for missing women.” A caption under Michelle’s frame reads “Le Massif, Québec, via Skype.

Steve says I WOULD LIKE TO PUT
SOME FACTS OUT THERE FOR OUR
VIEWERS IN CASE THEY DON'T HAVE
THE BACKGROUND FOR OUR
CONVERSATION.
LET'S DO THAT FIRST.

A slate appears on screen with the title “A suffering cohort.”

Steve reads BETWEEN THE YEARS 2000 AND 2008,
ABORIGINAL WOMEN AND GIRLS
REPRESENTED ABOUT 10 percent OF ALL
Female HOMICIDES IN CANADA HOWEVER,
ABORIGINAL WOMEN MAKE UP ONLY 3 percent
OF THE POPULATION.

He says So this is a group that is being killed
Or missing in quite disproportionate numbers.

He continues reading Most of the cases involve young women and girls. Just over half the cases, 55 percent, involve women and girls under the age of 31, with 17 percent of women and girls 18 years of age or younger.
More than a quarter, 28 percent, of all cases occurred in British Columbia, followed by Alberta with 16 percent of cases.
Only 53 percent of murder cases involving aboriginal women and girls have led to charges of homicide.
Aboriginal women are almost three times more likely to be killed by a stranger than non-Aboriginal women are.
The information belongs to Fact sheet: missing and murdered, March 31, 2010.

Steve says THAT'S FROM THE FACT
SHEET, MISSING AND MURDERED
ABORIGINAL WOMEN AND GIRLS
NATIVE WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION OF
CANADA.
YOU PUT THOSE FIGURES TOGETHER A
FEW YEARS AGO.
MICHELE THIS IS CLEARLY AN
APPALING SITUATION.
BUT I WONDER HOW MUCH SUCCESS
YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES HAVE HAD
OVER THE YEARS TRYING TO GET
AUTHORITIES IN THIS COUNTRY TO
DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS.

The caption changes to "Michèle Audette. Native Women’s Association of Canada."

Michèle says WELL, IF YOU LOOK ON
THE POINT OF THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT, I WOULD SAY IT'S A
TOTAL FAILURE.
BECAUSE YOU HAVE ONE PERSON OR
ONE PRIME MINISTER WHO SAYS
“NO.”
AND ALONG WITH HIS COLLEAGUES.
OF COURSE I HAVE TO SAY.

Michèle’s frame now appears against a map of Québec, in which Le Massif appears highlighted.
The caption changes to “Standing for missing women. An epidemic overlooked?”

Michèle continues BUT WHEN YOU LOOK THE A ALL THE
WORK THAT WE DID SINCE 1974 AND
ALSO WHEN WE STARTED THAT
CAMPAIGN IN 2003.
WE HAD THE SUPPORT FROM THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ALONG
WITH THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION AT THE
OAS IN WASHINGTON.
EVEN THE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH,
WHICH IS AN IMPORTANT
ORGANIZATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS.
AND YOU HAVE 13 PREMIERS ACROSS
CANADA WHO SUPPORT THE CALL FOR
A NATIONAL PUBLIC INQUIRY.
OF COURSE, ALONG WITH THE
NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION.
SO WE DO HAVE SUPPORT.
AND TWO WEEKS AGO -- I WOULD SAY
TWO WEEKS AGO WE PRESENTED
28,000 signatures.
THAT IS SOMETHING.
THAT IS HUGE.
FOR A CANADIAN PETITION.
AN INDIGENOUS PETITION WHERE
CANADIAN PEOPLE SIGN EITHER OUR
PETITION FOR THE UNION POSTCARD
SAYING WE NEED TO HAVE ANSWERS.
WE NEED TO HAVE JUSTICE FOR OUR
WOMEN BY HAVING THAT NATIONAL
PUBLIC INQUIRY.
SO WE DO HAVE SUPPORT.

Steve says LET'S JUST GO THROUGH
SOME OF THAT.
YOU MET WITH A REPRESENTATIVE
FROM THE UNITED NATIONS.
WHAT HAPPENED THERE?

Michèle says WE WERE SUPPOSED TO
HAVE 15 MINUTES.
BUT WE HAD HALF AN HOUR.
AND WE WEREN'T THE ONLY
ORGANIZATION.
WE REALLY REALLY APPRECIATE THE
MINUTES THAT WE HAD WITH THEM,
THE TIME.

A slate appears on screen with the question “Should we have a public inquiry on missing and murdered native women?” The slate also features the Twitter logo and the hashtag AgendaTVO.

Michèle continues AND AT THE END OF THE MEETING,
WE SAID, IF YOU ARE ABLE TO
PRESENT DURING YOUR PRESS
CONFERENCE AND YOUR REPORT,
ALSO, ONE OF YOUR
RECOMMENDATIONS THAT CANADA
NEEDS TO HOLD THAT NATIONAL
PUBLIC INQUIRY AND HAVE THAT
PLAN OF ACTION.
BECAUSE IT'S SO TRAGIC WHAT'S
GOING ON HERE.
IT'S SO OBVIOUS THAT WE'RE
TREATED DIFFERENTLY.
AND IT WAS, I THINK, THE FIRST
OR THE SECOND THING THAT HE
MENTIONED DURING HIS FIRST
CONFERENCE -- PRESS CONFERENCE
AFTER HIS TOUR IN CANADA.
SO IT WAS, FOR US, A HUGE, HUGE,
HUGE MOMENT.

Steve says NOW, EARLIER THIS
MONTH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAD
A SPECIAL PANEL LOOK AT THIS.
THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON
VIOLENCE AGAINST INDIGENOUS
WOMEN.
AND THEY TABLED A REPORT.
AND THERE WERE RECOMMENDATIONS
IN THAT REPORT.
AND I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW
USEFUL YOU FOUND THOSE
RECOMMENDATIONS.

Michèle says WELL, I WAS HOPING
FOR SOMETHING MORE.
LIKE CONSERVATIVE PEOPLE -- THE
GOVERNMENT SEEM TO BE MORE
AGGRESSIVE, YOU KNOW, WE'LL DO
LEGAL STUFF OR LEGISLATION, MORE
PROTECTION.
AND WHEN I READ THAT REPORT I
WAS SO SHOCKED.
ONE OF THE questions OF YOUR
COLLEAGUES FROM ANOTHER MEDIA
SAID ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED?
AND I SAID THE FIRST THING IT
DOESN'T FIT IN MY DICTIONARY
TODAY.
I WAS SO MAD, SO DISAPPOINTED.
BUT NOT THAT SURPRISED.
AT THE END OF THE DAY I WAS JUST
HOPING THAT THEY WOULD BE MORE
TOUGH ON THAT REALITY.

Steve says THEY DID NOT CALL FOR
A PUBLIC INQUIRY, DID THEY?

Michèle says NO.
BUT WHEN NOT ONLY THAT WHEN YOU
READ THE 16 RECOMMENDATIONS,
IT'S SO SOFT.
WHAT WE SEE THERE, IT'S EITHER
SAYING THINGS THAT IT'S ALREADY
IN PLACE IN THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT, FROM POLICIES, THE
PROGRAM ALREADY THERE.
AND WE DON'T SEE AN IMPROVEMENT.
WE DON'T EVEN SEE NEW
LEGISLATION OR AMENDMENTS.
WE DON'T SEE ANY CREATION OF
PROGRAMS OR IMPROVEMENTS OF
PROGRAMS FOR SERVICES FOR WOMEN
IN ISOLATED OR REMOTE
COMMUNITIES.
SO THERE'S MANY, MANY THINGS
THAT ARE MISSING THAT WE
MENTIONED DURING THOSE
INTERVIEWS OR TESTIMONY.
SO I WAS DISAPPOINTED.
I WOULD SAY.
OR SHOCKED.

Steve says HMM.
LET'S JUST CONFIRM HERE.
YOU SAY YOU'VE GOT -- AM I
RIGHT -- 600 CASES OF MISSING OR
MURDERED ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN
THIS COUNTRY SINCE -- WELL,
SINCE THE 21st CENTURY,
BASICALLY, IS THAT RIGHT?

Michèle says WELL, IT'S IMPORTANT
TO SAY THAT A RESEARCH DONE BY
THE NATIVE WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION
OF CANADA BETWEEN 2005 AND 2010
WERE ABLE TO COLLECT 583 NAMES
OF WOMEN AND YOUNG GIRLS MISSING
OR KILLED BETWEEN THOSE DATES.
BUT, OF COURSE WE KNEW THAT IF
WE WERE MORE PEOPLE AT THE
OFFICE, MORE EXPERT, MORE
RESEARCHERS, THEN OF COURSE IF
WE HAD MORE TIME, BELIEVE ME, WE
WOULD DO PROBABLY -- WE WOULD
HAVE MORE NAMES AND MORE
NUMBERS.
PROBABLY YOU HEARD ALSO ABOUT
THE UNIVERSITY RESEARCH BY
PEARSON.
A WOMAN FROM OTTAWA U. WHO TODAY
IS PRESENTING A CASE WHERE -- A
STUDY WHERE THERE'S MORE THAN
100 CASES.
SO OUR NUMBERS ARE QUITE THE
SAME.
WE CROSS-EXAMINE THE NAMES OF
HER STUDIES AND THE NAMES OF
FOLLOWING WHO'S MISSING AND
ACROSS CANADA.
AND WE HAVE MORE AND MORE THAN
600.

Steve says TELL ME WHY YOU FEEL A
FEDERAL INQUIRY OR A PUBLIC
INQUIRY WOULD BE ABLE TO FIND
INFORMATION AND INVESTIGATE
BETTER THAN LAW ENFORCEMENT
AUTHORITIES HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO
SO FAR?

Michèle says THERE ARE MANY
REASONS.
FIRST OF ALL, WE HAVE TO SAY
THAT IT'S ONE OF THE SOLUTIONS
ON THIS CRISIS IN CANADA.
IT'S TOUGH TO SEE WHEN THEY TRY
IN BRITISH COLUMBIA AFTER THE
PICKTON CASE WHERE IN DOWNTOWN
EAST SIDE OF VANCOUVER THE
GOVERNMENT DECIDED TO HAVE
Its own COMMISSION.
SO THE OPPAL COMMISSION WAS
SUPPOSED TO INVESTIGATE
And make some recommendation.
AND AT THE END OF THE DAY THEY
SAID IT WAS A BIG, BLATANT
FAILURE.
AND BECAUSE YOU WERE AN
ABORIGINAL WOMAN, YOUR CASE
WASN'T TREATED THE SAME WAY AS
THE CANADIAN WOMEN.
SO WHY?
SO IT'S HAPPENING ACROSS CANADA.
IT'S NOT ONLY HAPPENING IN
NORTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA OR
DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER.
IT'S HAPPENING IN LABRADOR.
IT'S HAPPENING IN P.E.I.
IN ONTARIO.
IT'S HAPPENING EVERYWHERE.
BUT HOW COME NUMBERS ARE
INCREASING SINCE 2000, 2003?
HOW COME THERE IS A BAD
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE POLICE
FORCE AND ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN
SOME REGIONS?
HOW COME WE DON'T HAVE PROPER
SERVICES, ET CETERA?
WE KNOW THE ROOT CAUSE.
BUT MAYBE WE HAVE AS A SOCIETY
WITH THE GOVERNMENT NOT ONLY THE
FEDERAL, BUT THE PROVINCIAL,
TERRITORIAL AND OUR FIRST
NATION, MéTIS AND INUIT
GOVERNMENTS AND THE
MUNICIPALITIES, SAY BON, WE KNOW
THERE IS A PROBLEM.
A RACE-FILLED PROGRAM.
ALL KINDS OF PROBLEMS.
BUT WHAT CAN WE DO TO CHANGE?
AND WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE SURE
THAT OUR WOMEN WILL BE
PROTECTED?
THIS INQUIRY WOULD HELP TO SOLVE
SOME CASES.
BUT ALSO WILL HELP THIS COUNTRY
TO BRING STRONG SOLUTIONS ON THE
LEGISLATIVE PART, ON THE
PROGRAMS ON THE POLICIES AND
SERVICES.
AND MAKING SURE THAT IT'S WELL
ADAPTED -- CULTURALLY ADAPTED
FOR OUR WOMEN.
AND BELIEVE ME, IT'S NOT AN
INDIGENOUS ISSUE.
IT BELONGS TO YOU, ALSO, TO ME
AS A MOTHER.
IT COSTS A LOT OF MONEY
To families in Canada this
VIOLENCE.
AND WE'RE INCREASING THOSE
DOLLARS.
AND I WOULD RATHER increase it THAT WE HAVE
LESS AND LESS AND AT THE END OF
THE DAY, NO MORE WOMEN ON THOSE
DATABASES OF MISSING AND
MURDERED.

Steve says MICHELE SO FAR THERE
HAS NOT BEEN A COMMITMENT FROM
THE FEDERAL CONSERVATIVE
GOVERNMENT TO HAVE AN INQUIRY.
BUT I WONDER IF YOU HAVE SPOKEN
TO REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE NEW
DEMOCRATIC PARTY, WHICH IS THE
OPPOSITION TODAY, OR THE LIBERAL
PARTY IN THIRD PLACE TODAY.
WE'RE HAVING AN ELECTION NEXT
YEAR.
IF EITHER OF THOSE PARTIES WERE
TO WIN WILL THEY COMMIT TO A
PUBLIC INQUIRY?

The caption changes to "Theagenda.tvo.org"

Michèle says I UNDERSTAND WHAT
THEY SAID DURING THE -- THE WORK
DURING THAT COMMITTEE WHEN THEY
PRESENTED THEIR OWN DESCENTING
REPORT -- I DON'T KNOW IF THAT'S
THE RIGHT WORD IN ENGLISH.

Steve says DISSENTING REPORT.

Michèle says THANK YOU.
WHEN THEY PRESENTED THIS THEY
SAID THEY WOULD GO THROUGH WITH
A NATIONAL PUBLIC INQUIRY.
BUT ALSO I BELIEVE THAT
SOMETIMES A GOVERNMENT CAN
SAY -- OR A POLITICAL PARTY CAN
SAY SOMETHING when you’re ON THE
OPPOSITION.
BUT WHEN YOU'RE ELECTED, MAYBE
IT'S SOMETHING ELSE.
SO WHAT WE DECIDED TO DO, THE
NATIVE WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION OF
CANADA, A MONTH AGO -- AND I
KNOW ALSO A FEW CHIEFS WHO DO
THE SAME.
I WILL LET THEM MENTION THEIR
REGION OR THEIR NAME OR THE
COMMUNITY THEY ARE REPRESENTING.
BUT THE NATIVE FRIENDSHIP CENTRE
OF CANADA PROBABLY OTHER GROUPS,
WE ARE SAYING LOUDLY AND
PROUDLY, ALSO, EACH INDIVIDUAL,
EACH CITIZEN OF THE FIRST
NATIONS COMMUNITIES, MéTIS OR
INUIT.
I KNOW FOR THE INDIGENOUS WOMEN
THAT WE WORK FOR, WE ARE SAYING
THE NEXT FEDERAL ELECTION WILL
BE SO CRUCIAL FOR MANY, MANY,
MANY REASONS.
MANY, MANY, MANY THINGS.
AND FOR SOME OF US WE NEVER
VOTE.
AND THIS TIME WE SHOULD.
BECAUSE I COMMITTED MYSELF THIS
ELECTION.
I WILL MAKE IT PERSONAL AND ALSO
PROFESSIONAL THAT I WILL VOTE.
I WILL VOTE FOR A POLITICAL
PARTY WHO WILL PUSH FOR A
NATIONAL PUBLIC INQUIRY.

Steve says WE'VE GOT JUST A FEW
MINUTES LEFT HERE AND I WANT TO
TOUCH ON TWO MORE THINGS IF I
CAN.
WE SHARED THE NUMBERS AT THE
BEGINNING OF THE DISCUSSION ON
HOW ABORIGINAL WOMEN ARE KILLED
OR MISSING IN DISPROPORTIONATE
NUMBERS TO THE REST OF THE
POPULATION.
AND I WONDER IF YOU COULD SHARE
SOME THEORIES THAT YOU HAVE AS
TO WHY THAT IS.

The caption changes to "Digging deeper."

Michèle says RACISM.
DISCRIMINATION.
WE ARE A TARGET.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE REPORT, THE
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT IN
BRITISH COLUMBIA WHERE
INDIGENOUS WOMEN ARE TREATED
LIKE DOGS OR RAPED OR BEATEN BY
THE RCMP, I DON'T THINK IN
CANADA WE HAVE OTHER CANADIAN
WOMEN WHO ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT
OR DENOUNCING THIS REALITY.
WHEN YOU LOOK IN THUNDER BAY
LAST YEAR, A YOUNG WOMAN WHO GOT
RAPED BY TWO WHITE MEN WHO TOLD
HER THAT SHE WASN'T THE FIRST
AND SHE WON'T BE THE LAST INDIAN
WOMAN.
AND THEY DID REALLY HATE IDLE NO
MORE, WE HAVE CASES LIKE THAT
ACROSS CANADA.
WHERE, BECAUSE WE ARE ABORIGINAL
WOMEN, WE ARE A TARGET.
SO IT'S HAPPENING HERE.
SO FOR ME IT'S DISCRIMINATION,
RACISM.

Steve says I WANT TO BE CLEAR.
DO YOU THINK THERE IS SYSTEMIC
DISCRIMINATION AND RACISM IN
EVERY POLICE FORCE IN THE
COUNTRY?

Michèle says IT WOULD BE TOUGH
AND HARSH TO SAY YES, THERE IS.
SO THAT'S WHY WE NEED THAT
NATIONAL PUBLIC INQUIRY.
BUT I STRONGLY BELIEVE IN EACH
POLICE FORCE THERE ARE GOOD
PEOPLE.
PEOPLE WITH GOOD FAITH, THAT
THEY WILL HELP US TO FIND
SOLUTIONS IN ORDER TO PREVENT OR
STOP THAT KIND OF REALITY.

Steve says OKAY.
LAST QUESTION.
AND THAT HAS TO DO WITH THE
BLOCKADE THAT WAS IN EASTERN
ONTARIO NEAR NAPANEE.
THE VIA PASSENGER TRAIN THAT I
GUESS EVERYBODY HAD TO GET OUT
OF THE TRAIN.
THEY HAD TO PUT PEOPLE ON BUSSES
TO GET THEM TO THEIR
DESTINATIONS.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WAS ACHIEVED
BY THOSE BLOCKADES?

The caption changes to "The blockade."

Michèle says WELL, IF YOU LOOK AT
A TRAIN WAS STOPPED AND PEOPLE
ARE MAD, ET CETERA.
YEAH, IT COULD BE FRUSTRATING
FOR THOSE CITIZENS.
BUT MAYBE FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE
DOING THAT ACTION IT'S THE LAST
ONE, THE LAST OPTION.
THEY ARE SO DESPERATE BECAUSE
THEY LOST 30 YEARS AGO, 20 YEARS
AGO, OR A MONTH AGO A LOVED ONE
AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OR
THE POLICE FORCE OR THE JUSTICE
SYSTEM IS NOT DOING ANYTHING.
MAYBE IT'S THEIR LAST CALL TO
GET ATTENTION.
BUT I STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT
WE'VE BEEN PUSHING FOR SO MANY
YEARS, SO MANY YEARS WITH LOTS
OF ENERGY AND LOTS OF PASSION
THAT I STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT THE
NEXT FEDERAL ELECTION IT'S GOING
TO CHANGE.
IT'S GOING TO CHANGE.

Steve says MICHèLE AUDETTE, THE
PRESIDENT OF THE NATIVE WOMEN'S
ASSOCIATION OF CANADA.
WE'RE GRATEFUL YOU COULD SPEND
SO MUCH TIME WITH US ON TVO
TONIGHT.
MERCI BEAUCOUP.

Michèle says MERCI BEAUCOUP.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Steve says NOT AT ALL.

Watch: Michele Audette: Standing for Missing Women