PM Trudeau stops short of commitment to fund Manitoba landfill search

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government is looking carefully at recommendations in the feasibility study to search a Winnipeg-area landfill for the remains of two Indigenous women, but stopped short of committing to fund any search.

A search for the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran, which are believed to be somewhere in the Prairie Green Landfill near Winnipeg, could take up to three years and cost between $84 and $184 million, according to a recent feasibility study.

Both women, whose remains have yet to be recovered, are believed to have been killed by an alleged serial killer.

“Obviously, this is a heartbreaking situation. The violence done to these women, the violence that is ongoing in missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is a heartbreak not just for the City of Winnipeg or Manitobans, but for all Canadians,” Trudeau said during a visit to Winnipeg on Wednesday.

When asked Wednesday if the federal government would commit to funding a search of the landfill, Trudeau said the government is committed to being a partner but stopped short of promising any federal dollars.

“We know that the chiefs and others are looking carefully at the recommendations, as are we,” he said. “We will continue to be there to support, and we will make decisions when the time comes, but I can tell you that we will be there.”

Beyond the cost and time required for a search, the study examining whether a search of the Prairie Green Landfill is feasible warned there are considerable risks due to exposure to toxic chemicals and asbestos.

READ MORE: Study finds search for women’s remains at landfill could take years, cost up to $184M

Jeremy Skibicki has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Harris and Myran, as well as Rebecca Contois and an unidentified woman Indigenous leaders have named Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe, or Buffalo Woman.

The charges against him have not been tested in court. 

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