Three-quarters of Canadians back inquiry on murdered and missing Aboriginal women

Three-quarters of Canadians back inquiry on murdered and missing Aboriginal women

October 23, 2014 – Nearly three-quarters (73%) say they are in favour of a national inquiry into the issue of violence against aboriginal women.

no border inquiry

That is the finding of an Angus Reid Institute (ARI) online survey asking Canadian adults how they feel about Aboriginal-related issues in Canada.

When asked how Canadians feel about a national inquiry investigating the root sociological causes of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, 26 per cent of respondents say they are “strongly in favour”, and 47 per cent say they are “in favour”.

Twenty-eight per cent are opposed, with eight per cent being “strongly against” and twenty per cent being “against” an inquiry, saying it’s a matter of law enforcement and concrete action.

Four-in-five (81%) respondents identified the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women as the most important Aboriginal-related issue to them today.

Over the last three decades, nearly 1200 Aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said that these are crimes that should be investigated by the RCMP, as opposed to being the result of a sociological phenomenon that would need a formal inquiry.

While there is significant overall support for an inquiry, this sentiment is particularly strong among women (78%) and respondents aged 18 – 34 (80%).

Further Angus Reid Institute findings reveal that nearly three-quarters (73%) of Canadians say “there would be more outcry and attention if these missing and murdered Aboriginal women were white”.

Conversely, 87% of Canadians also agree that “it’s time for the Aboriginal community itself to assume more responsibility for their people’s well-being”.

Priority issues

As noted above, the issue of murdered and missing Aboriginal women is viewed as the most important Aboriginal-related issue facing Canada today. There are, however, others: more than three-quarters (77%) of respondents say school drop-out rates for Aboriginal youth is a high priority, while seven-in-ten (68%) say the same about living conditions on First Nations reserves.

aboriginal issues

Performance of Canadian institutions

Respondents were asked how certain Canadian groups and institutions are performing with respect to Aboriginal women’s issues. The national news media and the RCMP were most favourably ranked, with 39 and 38 per cent of respondents, respectively, saying they are doing a good job. This is particularly true among respondents aged 55 and over where nearly half (47%) view the news media favourably and 43 per cent view the RCMP favourably.

In contrast, over half of Canadians (55%) rated the federal government’s performance as poor when it comes to Aboriginal women’s issues, which is most strongly felt by Liberal and NDP supporters (72 and 63%, respectively).

Comparatively, forty-five per cent of CPC supporters rate government’s performance as poor. This finding is similar to results from a 2013 Angus Reid Global poll that showed 54 per cent of Canadians rated the federal government’s performance as poor with regards to Aboriginal affairs.

Half of respondents (51%) also believe that both their own provincial government, as well as local chiefs on individual First Nations reserves are doing a poor job.

Over half of Canadians (53%) agree that Canada spends “way too much money on Aboriginal affairs” and two-thirds (66%) agree “we have made no progress on Aboriginal issues in the past many years”.

Views by Party Support

Support for an inquiry also falls out along political lines, with Liberal Party of Canada and New Democratic Party (NDP) supporters being the most supportive of an inquiry at 85 and 80 per cent, respectively, compared to those who support Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) supporters (56%).

Image Credit: Chris Pawluk

Click here for full report including tables and methodology


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