FREDERICTON (GNB) – Government Services Minister Ed Doherty, who is also minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs, is leading a delegation of New Brunswick officials to Ottawa for a National Roundtable on Violence Against Aboriginal Women and Girls on Feb. 27.

“This will be a venue to stimulate discussion and collaboration for moving forward with the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women and generally reducing violence against aboriginal women and girls,” said Doherty. “I will be accompanied by a delegation of aboriginal leaders, women’s advocates and government officials.”

The delegation includes:

  • deputy minister of Aboriginal Affairs Patrick Francis;
  • assistant deputy minister of the Women’s Equality Branch Norma Dubé;
  • Chief of Fort Folly First Nation Rebecca Knockwood;
  • Chief of Saint Mary’s First Nation Candice Paul;
  • executive director of Gignoo Transition House Shelley Germain;
  • staff from Assembly of First Nations Chiefs;
  • co-chair of Voices of NB Women forum Kim Nash-McKinley; and
  • president of the Indigenous Women's Association of the Maliseet and Mi'kmaq Territory Sharlene Paul.

“"Aboriginal women and girls are almost three times more likely than non-aboriginal women to report having been a victim of a violent crime,” said Knockwood. “This is a significant issue and one that requires a co-ordinated response from all levels of government led by First Nations. It is necessary to involve First Nations communities and to engage in an open dialogue with the broader population. I am honoured to be part of the delegation leading New Brunswick’s effort on this issue and I hope that we are able to draw attention to this crisis and achieve a renewed sense of collaboration for moving forward with change.”

The National Roundtable is the result of an August 2014 commitment by National Aboriginal Organizations and premiers to engage in focused discussion to reach targeted outcomes to address and prevent violence against aboriginal women and girls.

“Violence against aboriginal women and girls impacts aboriginal communities and families throughout New Brunswick,” said Doherty. “We are pleased to have this opportunity to work together to create the conditions to enhance the quality of life for aboriginal women and girls in New Brunswick and across the country.”

A backgrounder on violence against aboriginal women and girls is available online.