Premier Stephen McNeil and the leaders of the Progressive Conservative and New Democratic parties are calling on the federal government to launch a national public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. “The tragic death of Loretta Saunders reminds us violence against women is a serious issue that must be dealt with,” said Premier McNeil. “I want to express my deepest condolences to Ms. Saunders’s family and friends, and the aboriginal community for their loss.” “I commend the federal government for its efforts so far, but I urge my federal colleagues to take this work one step further. It is time to launch a public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls,” said Premier McNeil. The premier wrote to the federal Ministers of Justice, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and the Status of Women today, March 6, calling for the inquiry. “My heart breaks for Ms. Saunders’ family and friends. More must be done to end violence against women,” said Jamie Baillie, leader of the Opposition. “I appreciate the steps by the federal government to form a committee and investigate cases of missing aboriginal women and girls. A public inquiry is an important next step.” The federal government appointed a parliamentary committee to conduct hearings on the matter of missing and murdered aboriginal women. On March 7, the committee will table its report. “The tragic death of Loretta Saunders has brought attention to what is a troubling pattern all levels of government must work together to address,” said Maureen MacDonald, Leader of the Nova Scotia NDP. “Efforts must be made to examine and understand more fully what steps must be taken to end the unacceptable rate of death and disappearance among aboriginal women in Canada.” Violence against aboriginal women is an issue across Canada and a national approach is needed. The province continues to support initiatives that address violence against women. This work focuses on prevention, as well as, services for victims. During the July 2013 Council of the Federation meeting, premiers unanimously supported an inquiry. Premier McNeil, Mr. Baillie and Ms. MacDonald also thanked leaders of Nova Scotia’s aboriginal communities for their unwavering commitment to this significant issue.