Hon. Michèle Audette: Good afternoon, honourable senators.[Editor’s Note: Senator Audette spoke in Innu.]
Colleagues, I rise before you today with a great deal of love and emotion, and a tremendous amount of pride. As you can see, you have before you strong women, gentle warriors.
These are women who walked thousands and thousands of miles to advocate, stood against the odds and never gave up — ever. These women never gave up on raising awareness and ensuring that a national inquiry into, and justice for, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls would come to life. On top of that, I had the utmost privilege to be advised by them during the national inquiry. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are awesome, you are amazing — all of you.
Among these wonderful women, of course, is a special friend Denise Pictou-Maloney, the daughter of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, a prominent American Indian Movement activist who was brutally killed in 1976. Denise and her family have fought hard to obtain justice for her mother. Today, there is a film crew following Denise on her journey. The story of her mother will be immortalized and broadcast, which also means that her mother’s legacy will live and the truth will win.
Colleagues, these women are some of the architects of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It is the history of all these women, the history of too many women who have lost a loved one.
I want to say thank you to the National Family and Survivors Circle for your advocacy on behalf of my daughter and all young girls across this country.
When I question the government about implementing calls to justice, the importance of having an ombudsman, a follow-up and accountability mechanism, a tribunal, my voice is the voice of thousands of women who deserve for their safety to remain a priority.
A year ago today I was sworn in as a senator — you are my gift today. Thank you very much.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.