After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

Laureen Harper dismisses missing Indigenous women issue while speaking at cat video festival (VIDEO)

"If you'd like to donate to animals, we'd love to take your money," Harper shot back at an audience member who asked why the Prime Minister wasn't taking action over Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women. 

Sporting furry black cat ears, the Prime Minister's wife, Laureen Harper, dismissed an audience member's call for action on missing and murdered Indigenous women at an Internet Cat Video Festival in Toronto. 

"Mrs. Harper, raising awareness of about cat welfare is a good look for your husband's upcoming campaign strategy," shouted activist Hailey King, disrupting Harper's speech.

"Don't you think supporting an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women would be a better look?" 

"We're raising money for animals tonight," Harper shot back. "If you'd like to donate to animals, we'd love to take your money." 

"We'd love to take your money!" Harper's co-host shouted as King was escorted out. 

Addressing the crowd, Harper continued: 

"That (murdered and missing Indigenous women) is a great cause, but that's another night. Tonight, we're here for homeless cats." 

The Conservative government has been under pressure for an inquiry into Canada's 1200 missing and murdered Indigenous women over the past few years, but has so far made no move to respond. Last August, the Prime Minister was questioned by an audience member during a visit to New York why he wasn't investigating the violence against Indigenous women. He said he was "skeptical" about the effectiveness of an inquiry, and suggested more efforts needed to be made to raise the status of women in general, and not just First Nation women. 

James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, was in Canada last October to investigate what he called a "disturbing phenomenon" of violence against Indigenous women. He had also urged a federal inquiry into the problem.  

After the confrontation, Activist group Sh*t Harper Did released a video of the recorded dialogue. 

See video
Read More:

More in News

Views from a refugee camp: Who gets into heaven?

I have just returned to Vancouver Island from Greek refugee camps where I met a Yazidi man named Jason who told me about his escape from ISIS in Iraq.   His story begins on a desert road where a...

Vancouver's bicycle sharing grows as 15 new stations installed

Mobi bicycle by Shaw Go in Vancouver. Photo by Christopher Porter from Flickr Creative Commons

International Women's Day Concert celebrates female musicians who turned tragedy into triumph

Every March 8, on International Women's Day, we hear about the achievements of brilliant, talented women around the world. But how often do we learn about the physical and mental disabilities or...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.