August 25, 2023
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – Manitoba research, published in 2017 in collaboration with Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, suggests that the costs of the landfill search for Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran are dwarfed by the spiritual, emotional, social and economic costs of ongoing inaction to prevent MMIWGTS+ and to seek justice for families. Fixation on the search costs distracts from these much, much larger costs.
Violence against Indigenous women resulting in murder and disappearances not only drains resources from government, businesses, community groups and individuals, it also leaves a deep imprint on the emotional and social worlds of a great number of family, friends and community members left behind.
Human life is sacred. The cost of searching the landfill should not bear on the decision to find healing and peace for the families of the murdered women. Recognizing the spiritual, emotional, social and economic costs of inaction and the need for action on MMIWGTS+, CCPA-Manitoba research was conducted in partnership with Indigenous peoples to show that inaction on MMIWGTS+ is costly.
The complex impacts on family members of MMIWGTS+ are examined in Cost of Doing Nothing: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by Marina Puzyreva and Dr. John Loxley. The study was commissioned and prepared in consultation with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs’ Families First Initiative, based on testimonies of 37 family members and friends of MMIWGTS+ in Winnipeg, the Pas, Thompson and Sagkeeng First Nation, covering 14 cases. This study gives an insight into the emotional journeys of the families left behind. It gives voice to the lived experiences of family members mourning their loved ones. The study shows that not providing opportunities for Indigenous women to succeed in life and not helping Indigenous families obtain justice in the case of horrendous wrongdoing such as murder is not only a human rights issue but a problem with economic consequences.
The Cost of Doing Nothing: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls shows that not providing basic social and economic support for Indigenous women to succeed in life and not helping Indigenous families to obtain justice in the case of horrendous wrongdoing such as murder is not only a human rights issue but also has massive economic consequences. This research estimates the economic costs are valued at $75 million dollars of tangible and intangible benefits lost per homicide victim. Therefore, the economic costs of the two Indigenous women murdered by the serial killer are $150 million, comparable to the estimated $84 – $184 million cost to search the landfill.
CCPA Manitoba supports the call by the families of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran to search the Prairie Green Landfill.
Inaction to support human rights is costly. Government action must be taken to support families of MMIWGTS+ to bring family members home while upholding the human rights of Indigenous girls, women and two-spirited peoples, and all Indigenous people to prevent this tragedy. Governments must prioritize action on the MMIWGTS+ Calls to Justice and the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.
Mark Hudson, CCPA Manitoba Chair
Molly McCracken, CCPA Manitoba Director