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Ottawa open to roundtable on missing aboriginal women, MacKay says

Justice Minister Peter Mackay pauses during a media availability before a roundtable discussion on justice in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday August 19, 2014.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The federal justice minister is leaving the door ajar to Ottawa's participation in a roundtable on murdered and missing aboriginal women that was requested by the premiers and five aboriginal leaders last week.

Peter MacKay's office issued a statement last week that didn't directly address the call for a roundtable, but he said Wednesday his office could participate in some form of roundtable.

"The progress that is underway must continue," MacKay said. "That includes meetings and consultations for certain and could include a roundtable of sorts."

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The premiers and aboriginal leaders made their request during their annual meeting in Charlottetown. They didn't define precisely when or how the roundtable would proceed.

In May, the RCMP released a study of 1,181 cases involving aboriginal women since 1980. The study found aboriginal women made up 4.3 per cent of the Canadian population, but accounted for 16 per cent of female homicides and 11.3 per cent of missing women.

MacKay spoke Wednesday in Halifax while making an announcement on the federal government's plans for the next generation of navy ships.

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