OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women hit another road block on Tuesday after the resignation of a key official, the second departure from the long-awaited investigation into violence against aboriginals.
The resignation of one of five commissioners in charge of the inquiry comes less than two weeks after the departure of the executive director, and adds pressure to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who came to office promising to repair the relationship with Canada's 1.4 million aboriginals.
The inquiry, launched in August 2016, vowed to push ahead with its plan to investigate the root cause of more than a thousand deaths of aboriginal women and girls in recent decades, despite the loss of the two key officials.
Marilyn Poitras will step down on July 15, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls said in a statement. No reason for the departure was given.
The resignation follows that in late June of executive director Michele Moreau, who cited personal reasons.
“?We ?want ?to reassure the public that now, more than ever, we remain focused on this tremendously important ?work,”? Chief? Commissioner ?Marion Buller said in a statement.?
Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said the government would discuss whether the inquiry, which is due to issue an interim report in the fall, can continue with reduced staffing.
"That is a conversation that we will have here in government, as well as to hear from the commission," Bennett told reporters outside parliament.
"Yesterday the commission felt they were more than prepared to go forward as four commissioners ... but ultimately it will be up to government to decide, in consultation, as to what the next step will be."
Trudeau came to power pledging to fix the relationship with aboriginals, who make up about 4 percent of the country's population. But two years later many accuse his Liberal government of not doing enough to help impoverished communities, and protests by indigenous people disrupted the nation's July 1 Canada Day festivities.
(Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Chris Reese)