APTN National News
The former counsel for the Ipperwash inquiry has been chosen to be the lead lawyer for the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
It was announced Wednesday that Susan Vella will act the lead counsel for the commission and help build the inquiry’s legal team.
“She is a pioneer in advancing claims on behalf of survivors of sexual and institutionalized abuse, and sexual harassment in the civil litigation context for over 25 years,” said an inquiry statement. “Susan also represents Indigenous persons who are victims of sexual trauma, and Indigenous organizations and First Nations in relation to various matters.”
Vella acted as the commission lawyer for the inquiry that looked at the circumstances around the shooting death of Dudley George by a member of the Ontario Provincial Police in 1995 at Ipperwash Provincial Park near Lake Huron.
Vella was recently counsel to Ontario’s Ministry of Health Long Term Care’s task force on prevention of sexual abuse of patients, according to the statement.
Lawyer Christa Big Canoe also joined the inquiry legal team. Big Canoe comes from Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.