November 25, 2016 – Anna Mehler Paperny, Global News
If you’re a First Nations, Inuit or Metis individual living in Canada you are 6.4 times more likely to be killed than anyone else in the country.
The odds get worse if you’re an Aboriginal man. But Aboriginal women are still 5.6 times more likely to be killed than non-Aboriginal women, according to data released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.
That’s reflected in other forms of violence, as well: Aboriginal women are more than three times more likely to be raped than their non-Aboriginal counterparts, Statistics Canada says.
The federal government has pledged to launch a national investigation into missing and murdered aboriginal women following years of pressure and protests. It still isn’t clear what its mandate will be and what action will be taken as a result to keep women safe and prevent their being, disproportionately, the victims of violence.
At the same time, police across Canada are under scrutiny amid allegations of systemic abuse in Val d’Or and elsewhere.
INVESTIGATION: The missing and the murdered
This is the first time we have complete data on homicide rates by Aboriginal identity, StatsCan says.
And the picture that data paints isn’t pretty.
Almost one in four Canadian homicide victims are Aboriginal, even though the country’s first peoples only comprise about five per cent of the population.
The disparity’s even greater depending where you live: Aboriginals in Manitoba, which has the highest homicide rate among the provinces, are nine times more likely to be killed than non-Aboriginals.
In Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, everyone killed last year was Aboriginal; in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, none of them were.
Last year you were more likely to be killed in Manitoba than any other province: Its homicide rate per 100,000 is 2.4 times higher than the Canadian average.
Alberta and Saskatchewan were the second-deadliest provinces. But all were eclipsed by the territories: Nunavut’s homicide rate is 7.5 times the Canadian average.
There were significant disparities among Canadian cities but Thunder Bay saw a massive year-on-year increase: Its homicide rate almost tripled between 2013 and 2014.
That put Thunder Bay well above Winnipeg, last year’s second-deadliest Canadian city.