Hearing for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls lawsuit enters second day
REGINA -- The second day of a hearing to determine whether Diane Bigeagle's attempt to sue the RCMP will be certified as a class action lawsuit continued on Tuesday.
Her lawyer highlighted two RCMP programs that focused on missing Indigenous women and girls in British Columbia (E-Pana) and Manitoba (Project Devote) that were never made national.
The lawsuit alleges RCMP were negligible when investigating cases of the missing women and girls. It must receive certification before it can go ahead.
A judge will decide whether the lawsuit should be certified.
As part of the lawsuit, Diane BigEagle is looking to sue the RCMP following the disappearance of her daughter, Danita Faith, in 2007. Merchant spent most of the first day referencing a lack of investigation from the RCMP.
On Tuesday, Merchant argued it’s systemic negligence to not expand programs that the RCMP knows are working.
“To know of something better and not do it and harm the results from not doing it is the definition of negligence,” Tony Merchant said.
Merchant argued the absence of these programs on a national level resulted in more disappearances of Indigenous women and girls.
“The response seemed to have been ‘well we’ll wait for a national direction’ or it just didn’t catch on,” Tony Merchant said.
Merchant argued whenever Bigeagle asked for information regarding either program, she was denied.
He also argued a significant part of investigations is to bring closure to families, saying people like the children and grandchildren of the victims are entitled to compensation. He also pointed out the national inquiry called for compensation for families.
Merchant is expected to wrap up his arguments Tuesday afternoon while the defense plans to take two days.