MPs study resource extraction and violence against Indigenous women

Cabin Radio, Yellowknife

Published: June 27, 2022 at 5:53am


A House of Commons committee is studying links between resource extraction and violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada. 

The Standing Committee on the Status of Women, made up of Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic MPs, announced the study in April in response to calls to justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. 

Karen Vecchio, a Conservative MP and shadow minister for women and gender equality, is chair of the federal committee. 

“We’re being able to discuss this very wholesomely, from across the country, and what this issue really looks like – especially in the areas of natural resource development,” she told Cabin Radio. 

“I’m really proud of the work that we’re doing, especially in this 44th parliament.” 

The committee has heard from advocates and people with lived experience. Vecchio said a final report will include recommendations for how the federal government can help eliminate violence against women and girls in the context of resource extraction projects. 

Vecchio said issues the committee has heard include a lack of resources in isolated communities and how a large influx of workers can impact those communities.

Diane Redsky – executive director of the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, a family resource centre in Winnipeg – was among those who provided evidence to the committee.

She said transient male workforces are related to the sexual exploitation of women and girls, describing “man camps” as “breeding grounds for predators to have full access to victimize Indigenous women and girls.” 

“There is a very scary sense of entitlement that the men from these man camps have, which is further perpetuated by society’s harmful stereotypes that Indigenous women will do anything for money and that you can do anything to an Indigenous woman and no one will do anything about it,” she said. “Men get away with victimizing Indigenous women all the time.” 

She called for the extractive resource industry to better understand and plan for community impacts.

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