Red Dress Pilot Announcement Statement

Ahead of Red Dress Day, I am honoured to share the announcement that a Red Dress Alert Pilot will be launched in Manitoba, thanks to the hard work of families, survivors and grassroots leaders. This is a historic moment and a major step towards ending the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people.

I’d like to express my deep gratitude to advocates and Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people who have worked tirelessly to get us to the point we are at today. This includes the work of Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, Chair of the Families and Survivors Circle, and Sandra DeLaronde, Executive Director of Giganawenimaanaanig, whose work has been essential during the initial consultation phase. I would also like to acknowledge the personal dedication of Minister Anandasangaree and MP Pam Damoff, as well as the Government of Manitoba, for initiating the pilot under the direction of Minister Fontaine.

As Members of Parliament have unanimously agreed, the crisis of MMIWG2S+ is a Canada-wide emergency. Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples are roughly 6 times more likely to be murdered than their non-Indigenous counterparts throughout Canada. In Manitoba, they are 19 times more likely to be murdered or missing. A Red Dress Alert system will notify the public when an Indigenous woman, girl, or gender-diverse person goes missing so they can be brought home safely.

While we celebrate this historic moment, it’s critical we remember our work is not done until a Red Dress Alert is no longer needed. It’s time that all levels of government recognize Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people as rightsholders. That’s why I will continue working to push for policies to end gender-based violence, including supporting a guaranteed liveable basic income (GLBI) in response to the National Inquiry into MMIWG’s Call for Justice 4.5. I will also continue working with my NDP colleagues to push for affordable housing with rent-geared to income and greater support for women’s shelters.

Safety from violence is a fundamental human right, and it’s critical we do everything we can to end the ongoing genocide against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. While we celebrate our progress this Red Dress Day, we will continue working alongside families, survivors, advocates and Indigenous women until everyone in our communities is safe. 

Leah Gazan
(204) 984-1675

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