Yvonne Jones calls for inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women

Derek Montague
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Says death of Loretta Saunders has touched all of Canada

Labrador MP Yvonne Jones

Labrador MP Yvonne Jones has joined a chorus of calls for the Harper government to launch an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada, following the tragic death of Loretta Saunders.

“I find it very emotional for me. It’s not an issue I was ready … to ask questions on right now (in the House of Commons). But I will in the future because I really believe there needs to be an inquiry into missing and murdered women,” said an emotional Jones in an interview with the Labradorian.

“Aboriginal women and girls are subjected to violently abusive incidents five times more than any other women and children in our country. And that in itself should be a trigger to look at what’s happening.”

Twenty six-year-old Loretta Saunders of Happy Valley-Goose Bay went missing on Feb.13. After more than a week of searching for the pregnant Saint Mary’s University student, Saunders body was found off a highway in New Brunswick on Feb. 26. The police have ruled her death a homicide and Saunders former roommates, Blake Leggette and Victoria Hennebury, have been charged with first degree murder.

In a tragic twist of irony, Saunders was writing a thesis on missing and murdered aboriginal women at the time of her death. Jones believes that the death has touched so many people across Canada because of the direction Saunders’ life was heading.

“This has touched so many people, everywhere in this country. It is absolutely amazing how far reaching the impact has had. And I think it’s that way simply because every single one of us have children that we send away to school,” said Jones.

“They all have roommates, they all have friends. You never expect that they’ve placed themselves in positions … where such things can happen to them.”

On top of launching a national inquiry, Jones also wants the federal government to fund violence prevention programs in aboriginal communities across Canada.

“Loretta represented everyone of our children; a young bright, beautiful, girl who was tackling all the challenges in her life . . .studying a file like aboriginal missing and murdered women, simply because she wanted to make a difference.”

Federal officials, meanwhile, have dismissed the idea of an inquiry, saying the focus should be on programming.

derek.montague@thelabradorian.ca

Organizations: House of Commons, Labradorian

Geographic location: Canada, Happy Valley, Goose Bay Saint Mary New Brunswick

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