The federal government is expected to formally launch a national inquiry Wednesday into missing and murdered indigenous women.
The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec will host a ceremony where details about the scope and structure of the long-awaited inquiry will be revealed.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett (pictured) will be among those attending the event.
Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper rejected calls for a formal federal inquiry, but it was a key Liberal campaign promise during the last federal election.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained what he hopes will come from the inquiry.
“We need to offer justice for the victims,” he said. “For too long in this country, indigenous women and girls have gone missing without much notice, without much reaction, without society in general realizing the tragedies that are among us.”
Trudeau acknowledged it’s long overdue.
“I expect that this national public inquiry will clearly set a path forward to end this ongoing national tragedy, to look at ways to prevent this from continuing, from happening again, ways all levels of government and institutions and communities right across the country can work to ensure that we learn from this terrible tragedy,” he said.
For months, the government has been in a pre-consultation process which involved meeting with survivors, families and other stakeholders to help set the size and structure of the inquiry.
The Liberals have set aside $40 million over two years for the inquiry, which will involve the work of five commissioners. That figure could grow over time.
There are reports that the focus for the five commissioners involved will be on violence prevention. That has attracted criticism from some who feel that the inquiry should also look into past police investigations into the disappearances or murders of Aboriginal women and girls.
According to an RCMP report released in the spring of 2014, over 1,100 indigenous women were murdered and went missing between 1980 and 2012.
It revealed a year later that 32 aboriginal women had been murdered and 11 more had disappeared since it first reported on the issue.