Toronto — Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles, the NDP critic for Women's Social and Economic Opportunity Jill Andrew and the NDP critic for the Attorney General Kristyn Wong-Tam joined advocates in urging the Ford government to pass all provincial measures recommended by the Renfrew County Inquest to prevent intimate partner violence (IPV).
“People should not have to push their government so hard to take action on such an insidious issue,” said Stiles. “The Inquest laid out specific, concrete solutions under provincial jurisdiction to help prevent and eliminate intimate partner violence. The Ford government has failed to implement or even meaningfully acknowledge these solutions.”
A coroner's jury inquest into the 2015 murders of three women in and around Renfrew County case delivered 86 recommendations — 68 under provincial jurisdiction — to address the root causes of intimate partner violence and support survivors and victims' families. Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam were murdered by the same man on the same day.
The recommendations include formally declaring intimate partner violence an epidemic and ensuring that IPV issues are addressed using an all-of-government approach.
The MPPs were joined at a virtual press conference Friday by Malcolm Warmerdam, the son of Nathalie Warmerdam, and Erin Lee, executive director of Lanark County Interval House, which provides support to women and children fleeing domestic violence.
“Government silence is violence," said Andrew. "Ignoring survivors and their communities re-traumatizes people, and sends the message to perpetrators that women’s lives, their safety, and their security does not matter.”
Wong-Tam stressed: "It's been seven years and five months since the Renfrew triple femicide, and the clock is ticking for the Ford government to take substantial action. The government must do its part to prevent further deaths in Ontario."
“I want to see a commitment to the recommendations happening yesterday. I want to see action before the one-year anniversary of these recommendations coming out. We need to find a way to prevent people from committing violence again so we can prevent violence from escalating. These are complex recommendations to implement. I'm not expecting the government to get everything completed now. But I was expecting a commitment. I haven’t seen that yet, and I’m disappointed.”
Erin Lee, executive director of Lanark County Interval House:
“Rural communities have embraced the 86 recommendations across the province. It is small rural communities that are taking the most critical recommendations and putting them into action. We are on the road as rural communities and I implore the provincial government to meet us where we are at. To work alongside us. And to take the necessary action to stop intimate partner violence in the province of Ontario and to respond to communities that are in the process of healing from ongoing violence.”