Joint Working Group on Violence Against Aboriginal
Women representatives during the February 24 meeting in
Toronto. (Left to right): The Honourable David Zimmer,
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs; Deputy Grand Chief Denise
Stonefish of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians;
Sheila McMahon, President of the Ontario Federation of
Indigenous Friendship Centres; MNO President
Gary Lipinski; the Honourable Tracy MacCharles,
Minister of Children and Youth Services; and Dawn
Lavell-Harvard, Ph.D., Interim President of the Ontario
Native Women’s Association.
On February 24, 2015, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski represented the MNO at a meeting of the members of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Violence Against Aboriginal Women (VAAW). Also attending the meeting on behalf of the MNO was MNO Chief Operating Officer Doug Wilson. The Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services, and the Honourable David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, were both in attendance.
The MNO has been a key player in advancing the agenda to end VAAW. It has participated in five summits on ending VAAW, is a full signatory to the Framework to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women and is an active member of the JWG on VAAW since its inception in 2010. At its 2014 Annual General Assembly, the MNO also passed a motion asking for a Federal Inquiry into the national tragedy of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. President Lipinski wrote to the Prime Minster about the issue in September 2014. The MNO has also been integrating awareness about VAAW within the MNO through its Victim Services program and the Women’s Secretariat of the MNO has been heavily involved in this critical issue.
The meeting was another opportunity for the JWG, which consists of ten provincial ministries: the MNO, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, the Ontario Native Women’s Association, the Chiefs of Ontario and Independent First Nations to report on its progress. The MNO commends the Government of Ontario for supporting efforts to reduce the very high rates of violence affecting Metis, First Nations and Inuit women in Ontario and called upon the lead Ministers to report back to their cabinet colleagues on progress and ongoing challenges articulated in the meeting.