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Winnipeg Centre NDP MP Leah Gazan (Photo: CPAC)

Support expressed for Canada-wide ‘Red Dress Alert’

By Tara Clow May 3, 2023 | 1:47 PM

Support in the House of Commons for a Canada-wide ‘Red Dress Alert.’

Winnipeg Centre NDP MP Leah Gazan introduced the motion to fund the alert that would be used when Indigenous women and girls go missing.

She has been pushing for a system that would be similar to an Amber Alert by sending a notification to phones, televisions and radios when an Indigenous woman disappears.

Fredericton Liberal MP Jenica Atwin was pleased to see steps for this to move forward.

“I really do think it would make an immediate impact and at least mobilize that call to action that we’re hearing about. It would bring that awareness piece and realize how urgent this crisis really is, and I believe it would save lives,” Atwin says.

She adds this MMIWG issue is about misogyny, racism and systemic discrimination.

“My wish is that this discussion could also be about hope. Hope not just for awareness or education, but hope for broad consensus and swift action. Hope for adequate resources, policy change and justice.”

This comes just days before Red Dress Day on May 5th.

“Friday is Red Dress Day. A devastating and unacceptable reality in Canada also known as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people. Everyone has the right to safety and to live free from violence. All families deserve to know that if their loved one goes missing, every effort will be made to find them,” commented Parliamentary Secretary to Public Safety Pam Damoff during a debate in the House of Commons to mark the upcoming National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“I want to thank the member for Winnipeg Centre and I commit to working closely with her on finding justice for Indigenous women girls and Two-Spirit people, particularly around creating a Red Dress Alert. The release of the final report of the National Inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls prompted a period of deep reflection and requires urgent action.”

Red Dress Day was inspired by Métis artist Jaime Black’s REDress Project installation, in which she hung empty, red dresses to represent the missing and murdered women.

Red dresses have now become symbolic of the crisis.


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