OTTAWA- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government needs to do more to end the epidemic of violence that Indigenous women and girls face after police found the body of another Indigenous woman in a landfill this week.
Trudeau says it’s heartbreaking that discoveries like these continue to happen.
The Winnipeg homicide unit says it started an investigation after staff at the Brady Road landfill south of the city found the body of 33-year-old Linda Mary Beardy on Monday.
Police say they do not believe the case is linked to the killing of Rebecca Contois, whose remains were found in the same landfill last year, or the killings of three other women.
Police have said they believe the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran are in a different, privately run Prairie Green landfill north of Winnipeg, but they have not been found.
The prime minister says his Liberal government has made significant strides in countering gender-based violence, but there’s more it can be doing.
“My heart goes out to the community in Winnipeg and to the families of the woman who was … left in this way,” Trudeau told reporters Wednesday.
“We will continue to be there with the community as it grieves, but we will also continue to be there to put an end to this unconscionable violence.”
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the discovery highlights the need to implement the 231 calls for justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“Women are dying, lives are being taken and we have to take it seriously,” Singh said.
The federal Crown-Indigenous Relations minister has praised workers at the city-run Brady landfill for their “heightened vigilance” in finding Beardy’s remains.
Marc Miller also said a study into the feasibility of searching the Prairie Green landfill for the remains of Harris and Myran should be completed in the coming weeks.
The federal government put up $500,000 in February for the study into a potential search landfill.
An Indigenous-led committee headed by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said Tuesday the study is expected to be completed in four to six weeks. The organization added it is confident the study will “deem these search and recovery efforts feasible.”
Jeremy Skibicki has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Contois, Harris and Myran, all First Nations women, as well as an unidentified woman Indigenous leaders have named Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman. Police have also not located her remains.
The Brady landfill is to remain indefinitely closed. The city said contingency plans for garbage and recycling are in place, and workers are trying to maintain these services without disruption during the closure.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 5, 2023.