(Michele Audette spoke to APTN National News Thursday about her relationship with Chief Commissioner Marion Buller)
APTN National News
Commissioner Michele Audette on Friday denied the existence of internal tensions with Marion Buller, the chief commissioner for the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.
Sources have told APTN National News that Audette has sometimes followed her own agenda inside the inquiry’s workings, creating tensions with the direction of Buller.
Audette denied the allegations in an interview Friday with APTN National News anchor Dennis Ward.
“I don’t know where you get that. If you can say to that person who is saying that, if there is more than one, I don’t (have tensions with Buller),” said Audette. “I have so much respect for her and what I love (about) her is she lets me be who I am.”
Watch Michele Audette speaking with APTN’s Dennis Ward about the inquiry
Audette said all four commissioners remaining on the inquiry settle their differences respectfully and operate by consensus.
“It is always in a respectful way,” she said. “We never close the door or slam the door.”
Audette was recently forced to retract a premature announcement of planned inquiry hearings in Quebec.
The inquiry has already seen one of its commissioners, Marilyn Poitras, resign and it has been hobbled by internal disorganization and a lack of clear focus.
Audette, along with Buller, Commissioner Qajaq Robinson and Commissioner Brian Eyolfson appeared before the House of Commons Indigenous Affairs committee Thursday and before the Senate committee on Wednesday.
During the committee appearances, the commissioners said they had been slowed down by bureaucratic obstacles because the inquiry operates within the confines of federal government parameters on issues like human resources, information technology and contracting.
The inquiry’s computers are still not on the same system, according to Audette who said staff and commissioners have used their personal phones and computers to do their work and engage with family members wishing to participate in the inquiry.
Audette said the commissioners are currently preparing to ask the federal government to give the inquiry more time to do its job, but it was too soon to say much more time and money are necessary.
“We are doing an analysis to make sure we are not…missing the boat when we are presenting to the federal government,” said Audette.
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