Maxine Goforth is happy to hear the Liberal government plans to start consulting families of missing and murdered indigenous women ahead of a long-awaited national inquiry.
The new minister of indigenous affairs told the Canadian Press the start of pre-inquiry consultations will be announced before the end of the month. Minister Carolyn Bennet said that process will involve speaking with families of victims as well as provincial and territorial representatives and grassroots organizations.
“It’s really good news. I was amazed when I first saw it on Twitter this morning,” Goforth said on Tuesday. “I’ve been thinking about that all day and I’m sure I’m not the only person that’s happy about it.”
Goforth’s daughter was found murdered in Regina in Sept. 2013. Kelly Goforth was only 21 when she was killed just one month ahead of her son’s first birthday.
As a mother, Goforth hopes the consultations are done with respect and understanding to families, without looking down on them for living in poverty.
“People that have lived it, experienced it are the ones that are going to have an insight into what programming is going to work,” Goforth commented.
Clayton Bo Eichler is set to stand trial on first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Kelly Goforth and 23-year-old Richele Bear.
While she waits for justice, Maxine Goforth is looking at the bigger picture, attending rallies in support of other families of MMIW and speaking out in support of a national inquiry.
“My daughter, I don’t want her to have died for nothing, not to have died in vain without any answers,” she said.
“Why I went there is to support other mothers and the ones that were murdered and even for the ones that are missing – to find what can we do as a community to prevent this from happening in the future.”
In response to people who say an inquiry will just cost a lot of money without providing any solutions, Goforth asks them to consider that life is priceless.
“Dig deeper, open your mind, because you don’t know until you’ve experienced it.”
Goforth believes a national inquiry will start to answer more questions and find some solutions to help families and youth who are vulnerable.
“There’s a lot of learning to do, there’s a lot more things to find out,” she said. “And don’t stop there, you know? Keep going. Even if there’s recommendations from years ago, then implement them.”
Goforth has doubts that the violence will stop completely, but she does believe there are more things that can be done to help improve safety and address the violence. She says it has to start with the youth, and she’s happy to see more free programs popping up in the community to help them focus on something positive.
She adds that more funding would help communities provide better programming, and she also suggests more frontline workers to help people out on the streets.
“This inquiry, it’s been a long time waiting. I’ve been waiting and watching and I’m glad it’s happening, you know, I really am,” Goforth said. “Not only for me, for everybody, let’s help each other as a community all across Canada. Even before my daughter was born this could have been done.”