MMIWG commission responds to story, letter
“I am responsible for legal proceedings at the hearings of the national inquiry”
I am one of the lead commission counsels for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. I am responsible for legal proceedings at the hearings of the national inquiry.
I write this letter in regard to an article published in Nunatsiaq News and a letter to the editor that was published on the Nunatsiaq News website. In my capacity as lead commission counsel, I believe that it is important to correct certain inaccuracies in both the article and the letter.
The article, “Sexual violence a spinoff of Nunavut’s mining industry: MMIWG hearings” by Beth Brown was published on Sept. 13, 2018.
This article erroneously says that witness TJ Lightfoot “gave testimony to MMIWG commissioners as an expert.” Ms. Lightfoot was not qualified as an expert during the hearings.
Further, it is also important to note that the vast majority of evidence presented by Ms. Lightfoot, which was exhibited, takes the form of publicly available documents in relation to resource extraction and development. These documents, reports and research entered into evidence were developed and published by reputable organizations.
A subsequent letter to the editor was published on the Nunatsiaq News website on Sept. 20, 2018. This letter seems to rely on the Nunatsiaq News article instead of the actual proceedings of the national inquiry. The author of the letter, Mr. Alex Buchan, the vice president of the N.W.T. and Nunavut Chamber of Mines, also mistakenly states that Ms. Lightfoot was qualified as an expert witness.
This letter was also published under a shocking, attention-grabbing headline that seems to ignore what has been heard to date as evidence by the national inquiry and is based on discriminatory assumptions.
The video of the panel that Ms. Lightfoot was part of is available online, in its entirety.
Transcripts of the evidence heard during the hearing in Iqaluit will be available on our website in the near future.
We suggest if anyone would like to hear or see what happened during the hearing that they review the video or transcript to ensure accuracy and learn more information.
Christa Big Canoe
Co-Lead of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Editor’s note: We asked the commission to explain the distinction between an “expert” and other types of witnesses. This is their explanation:
“The witnesses testifying before the commissioners consist of a wide range of knowledge keepers, academics, leaders, Institutions representatives. Only a witness qualified as an expert can provide an expert opinion. The other witnesses are either knowledge keepers, institutional representatives or witnesses who are recognized for their knowledge, academic study, and experiences.”
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