After years of interviews with thousands of victims of violence as the chief commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Judge Marion Buller delivered a final report last week that includes hundreds of uses of the word “genocide.” Buller said the commission used this language to “hold up a mirror to Canada.”
In quick order, Canada’s media class smashed Buller’s mirror and ignored all those who have shared in the pain of the missing and murdered women. Some attempted to divorce the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls from the concept of genocide, ignoring charges of forced sterilization as recently as 2017 and the reality that targeting women destroys a culture and a community’s ability to continue into the future. Chantal Hébert in the Toronto Star warned the powerful phraseology could see the report ignored. The Star’s editorial board suggested we need “a new word” for the harms of colonization, because “‘genocide’ isn’t it.” Over at The Globe and Mail, the editorial board said the charge of genocide “doesn’t ring true” and “simply does not bear scrutiny.” In the National Post, Father Raymond J. de Souza, a Roman Catholic priest, assured readers the charge just does not “comport with Canada’s record, or how most Canadians understand our country.”
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