Statement from NDP Critic for Aboriginal Affairs

Ontario NDP Critic for Aboriginal Affairs France Gélinas issued the following statement:  

“When it was finally announced that there would be a Coroner’s Inquest into the deaths of the seven First Nations students in Thunder Bay between 2000 and 2011, the families from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation were relieved that they may finally get to hear and bear witness to the tragic circumstances that led to these young people’s deaths. New Democrats joined calls for an Inquest, and have repeatedly raised the issue in the Legislature.  

A new courtroom was built and with it a hope that it would accommodate any inquest into the deaths of these young people. There were ceremonies attended by the Attorney General and a new hope and expectation by the community that they would finally get to learn about what happened to their young people, and how such deaths may be prevented in the future. So, it is troubling to hear that courtroom being made available only allows a handful of seats for all of the families and others who wish to attend.

I understand that the Inquest is to be moved after today, and I, as New Democratic Critic for Aboriginal Affairs, call for the Inquest to continue on in a venue big enough to accommodate all of the families who wish to attend, for the duration of this Inquest into such an important public issue.”