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Valcourt using statistics as diversionary tactic
Via Doug Cuthand - The StarPhoenix - April 17
Aboriginal Minister Bernard Valcourt has a terrible relationship with his client group.
He continues to appear as an angry politician who resents his job, and it is revealed in his disrespect and confrontational attitude when dealing with First Nations leaders. His reaction to calls for an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women has been negative and bellicose.
When some Alberta chiefs questioned Valcourt about missing and murdered Aboriginal women, the minister was defensive and made the accusation that 70 per cent of Aboriginal women were killed by an Aboriginal person. He referenced the RCMP but stated that this information had not
been made public, so the chiefs were caught flat-footed.
The RCMP had said it hesitated to make the information public because of its preference for "bias-free policing." The national police service also based its conclusions on information obtained from about 300 law enforcement agencies and couldn't confirm the accuracy of each report.
However, Valcourt was under pressure to resign and the heat was on. So RCMP Commissioner Bo Paulsen had to come forward and state that, yes, 70 per cent of homicides against aboriginal women were perpetrated by aboriginal men. That's the government's line these days: The Indians did it to themselves, and it's case closed. "Move along folks, there's nothing to see here."
But you can't take statistical information and examine it in a vacuum. To use Prime Minister Stephen Harper's disparaging remark, you must "commit sociology."
First of all, the police
information is based on solved murders. If the perpetrator of a murder isn't arrested, obviously the police can't guess who did it and include that in the statistics.
Police will also point out that domestic crimes are relatively easy to solve. They are considered the low-hanging fruit of homicides. An anonymous serial killer or a death of someone on a lonely highway are far more difficult to solve, and these deaths are more likely committed by persons unknown to the victim.
Also, while 70 per cent of aboriginal women are murdered by a spouse, partner of family member, the corresponding figure is 75 per cent for the
non-Aboriginal population. So, both groups are facing similar
This situation has been an issue of concern for Aboriginal organizations for years. Spousal violence has been the subject of workshops and counselling to the point that RCMP statistics revealed that the rate of fatal violence directed at aboriginal women is on the decline. This, of course, was a statistic that Valcourt failed to reveal.
I can't recall instances of women's organizations and advocacy groups dismissing lateral violence. Instead, they speak out against it. I have never heard any of the advocates for an inquiry lay
all the blame at the foot of outsiders and ignore the serious problem we face with lateral violence. This is an issue that advocacy groups maintain must be a part of an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
Valcourt's comments reflect his ignorance of the First Nations community, and his lack of knowledge of our history with addressing issues such as lateral violence. He is obviously taking advice from Aboriginal Affairs officials who view First Nations people as adversaries.
RCMP Report on Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women is Statistically Skewed
Via Pam Palmater- Indigenous Nationhood - April 10