OTTAWA — The Mounties are not disputing a report that they have identified more than 1,000 cases of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls — hundreds more than previously thought.
The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, citing an anonymous source, reported that the RCMP arrived at their tally after contacting more than 200 other police forces across the country.
APTN also reported the Public Safety Department is sitting on a copy of the RCMP report, which the network says was supposed to come out March 31.
Supt. Tyler Bates, director of national aboriginal policing and crime prevention services, referred questions to the RCMP’s media relations office in Ottawa, which did not deny the APTN report.
But Sgt. Julie Gagnon says the RCMP report is not finalized and it would be premature for her to comment further.
“The RCMP is currently completing a national operational review to gain the most accurate account to date of missing and murdered aboriginal women in Canada,” she wrote in an email Thursday.
“This initiative will help the RCMP and its partners identify the risk and vulnerability factors associated with missing and murdered aboriginal women to guide us in the development of future prevention, intervention and enforcement policies and initiatives with the intent of reducing violence against aboriginal women and girls.”
Public Safety has yet to respond to questions.
Earlier this year, the RCMP said it completed a “comprehensive file review” of more than 400 murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls within its jurisdiction, and would keep looking into other outstanding cases.
Briefing notes obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act show the national police force has reviewed 327 homicide files and 90 missing-persons cases involving aboriginal females.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada has said it is aware of even more cases of murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls than the RCMP tally.