Manitoba chief, daughter of murdered woman blast Ottawa for lack of commitment to search landfill near Winnipeg

A Manitoba chief and the daughter of a murdered woman both blasted the federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations on Monday, after they say they were called to a meeting with the minister, only to be told that the feds had “more questions” and would offer no commitment to help search the Prairie Green Landfill for the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran.

Long Plain First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson was one of many who were in Ottawa on Monday rallying on Parliament Hill as part of what was billed the Search the Landfill International Day of Action.

But Wilson said her and others were unexpectedly asked while in Ottawa on Monday to meet with Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Gary Anandasangaree.

“We did not come to Ottawa to meet with the minister, but he asked us to meet and we agreed,” Wilson said while speaking at a media conference after the meeting with the minister concluded.

“We felt very hopeful coming into this meeting, because why would the minister want to meet with the families face to face on an international day of action to speak about a landfill search?

“But all we heard was that they have more questions, and they have no commitment.”

Wilson said she left the meeting feeling “disgusted.”

“I’m very angry, because you brought us back into a room to say you have no answers and have more questions,” Wilson said.

“It’s disgusting.”

She said she is also frustrated because she believes the answers the minister is looking for are already in a feasibility study.

Advocates and families have been calling for months for a search of the Prairie Green Landfill for the remains of Harris and Myran, two women whose remains are believed to have been dumped at the landfill north of Winnipeg by alleged serial killer Jeremy Skibicki.

A feasibility study released earlier this year said that a search for Harris and Myran was feasible, could cost as much as $184 million, could pose health and safety threats to workers, and that there was no guarantee that it would be successful.

“There are technical experts who have worked on this feasibility study and they have provided the answers that you need, so right now all we are dealing with is bureaucratic nonsense,” Wilson said.

“Governments continue to treat us like children and we’re tired of it.”

Cambria Harris, the daughter of Morgan Harris also spoke on Monday, and accused both the federal and provincial governments of playing politics with the calls for a landfill search.

“I think it’s sad that families are being treated as a political tick on a politician’s agenda, and simply something to schedule into their day,” Harris said.

“We’re not being treated as human beings.”

“We continue to be in discussion with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Long Plain First Nation on next steps," said Anandasangaree in an email to the Winnipeg Sun. "We are committed to this ongoing dialogue and moving forward with work that would address the complexities and findings of the feasibility study.”

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun