Deaths of Canadian aboriginals met with indifference, families say

Fri Apr 8, 2016 4:17pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Sebastien Malo

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Ever since Melina Laboucan-Massimo learned her sister was found dead after falling 31 stories from a Toronto building under suspicious circumstances, she has awakened every morning at 4:50 a.m., the time the death occurred.

"It's something I can't stop," she said. "It's trauma. It just continues."

The death of Bella Laboucan-McLean, which remains unsolved, has driven her sister to speak up for Canadians grieving and questioning the disproportionate number of aboriginal women murdered or missing.

The spate of deaths and disappearances has received heightened attention since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched an inquiry, a measure opposed by his predecessor.

It was the summer of 2013 when Laboucan's family, who are Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta, sought answers from police.

Investigators told them the 25-year-old's death must have involved drug abuse, a theory about the young college graduate the family rejected.

"She was not a drug user," Laboucan-Massimo said.

Drug use was only disproved, however, after the family insisted on full toxicology testing and had to wait some two years.   Continued...