The Liberal Party’s health critic says Stephen Harper’s remark that the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women isn't a “sociological phenomenon” is an “ignorant statement for a Prime Minister to make.”
MP Hedy Fry is one of several politicians taking issue with Harper’s remarks yesterday on the recent killing of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine in Winnipeg.
The Aboriginal teen’s body was found wrapped in a plastic bag in the Red River on Sunday.
The Prime Minister again rejected calls to order a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women, saying it should be viewed as crime that is best handled by police.
Fry, who was is in La Ronge Friday meeting with local leaders and health stakeholders, says Harper couldn’t be more wrong.
“This is not just another crime of violence,” she says. “It is the violence against Aboriginal women and girls. And. . . it is way out of proportion to the number of Aboriginal women and girls in this country. This is really something he has to consider, if he looks at it sociologically.”
Fry also questions the Prime Minister’s choice of words.
“I mean, to use the word ‘sociological’ means he didn't even look at it sociologically. If he did, he would have seen. It’s like the number of Aboriginal people in prison. You know, look at the percentage of Aboriginal people in this country and the percentage - sometimes 70 per cent - represented in prisons. That is out of whack. Something is wrong. There is a sociological problem here.”
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne calls Harper's remarks “outrageous.”
Liberal Aboriginal Affairs critic Carolyn Bennett says the Prime Minister’s steadfast refusal to call a national inquiry flies in the face of every premier in the country - and the international community - and puts Harper “on the wrong side of history.”
NDP Status of Women critic Niki Ashton says Harper’s comments yesterday “show his callous disregard for the plight of some of the most marginalized people in our country – Indigenous women.”
(With files from The Canadian Press)