First Nations chiefs have backed a resolution calling on Marion Buller, the chief commissioner of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls inquiry, to resign.
By a vote of 48 to 15, chiefs gathered at the Assembly of First Nations special meeting in Ottawa said they want the federal government to both extend the time of the inquiry — by tacking on an extra two years beyond the scheduled completion date of November 2018 — but also “reset” the process by appointing a new leader.
The Liberal government does not have to adhere to the non-binding resolution, and, in an interview with CBC News before the vote, Buller said she had no plans to step aside.
Chief Peter Collins, of Fort William First Nation, first introduced the motion at the assembly calling for an extension without the condition Buller leave her post, but agreed to the addition after it became clear most chiefs were unhappy with the commissioner’s leadership.
Buller, who had only minutes earlier made a presentation to the AFN, received little if any applause from chiefs when she defended the inquiry’s work, and recounted stories of families who are supportive of the study. Rather, when it came time for a question and answer session, she faced an onslaught of criticism.
The most scathing came from Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson, who heads the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, a group of some 30 First Nations in the province’s north.
“You’re not a brilliant commissioner for this inquiry. Sorry, and not sorry at the same time. We need to see you resign. All of you commissioners should resign but for me personally it’s you … the commission is falling apart.”
Chief Janice Henderson, of Mitaanjigamiing First Nation in northern Ontario, the original seconder of the motion, pulled her support because she said removing Buller would simply delay the proceedings that are already beset with staffing issues.
She said she just testified at the inquiry’s family meeting in Thunder…