Consensus grows for forum on missing and murdered aboriginal women

Canada's premiers and native leaders call for action

CHARLOTTETOWN – Canada’s premiers and aboriginal leaders are calling on the federal government to participate in a roundtable to address the high number of native women who are missing and murdered.

Premier Robert Ghiz of Prince Edward Island says while the premiers and native leaders would still like to see a public inquiry, they agreed to a compromise in the hopes of federal involvement.

Ghiz says he would like to see federal cabinet ministers take part in the roundtable.

Prior to the meeting today between the premiers and aboriginal leaders in Charlottetown, Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall said such a forum could look at what action has been taken on the 29 reports on aboriginal issues that have been carried out since 1996.

The demand for federal action comes less than two weeks after the body of a 15-year-old aboriginal girl was found in the Red River in Winnipeg.

Native leaders have said Tina Fontaine’s death, considered a homicide by police, has highlighted the need for an inquiry.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has rejected calls for an inquiry and said most cases like Fontaine’s should be handled by the police, adding that it would be a mistake to consider the crime part of a “sociological phenomenon.”