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MMIWG2S+ licence plates to be available in Manitoba in 2023

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Manitoba Public Insurance is working on a special licence plate meant to raise awareness on the societal issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people that will be made available to the Manitoba public by the end of the year.

The MLA who originally proposed the idea of a MMIWG2S+ licence plate says, however, that MPI, as directed by the Progressive Conservative government, is carrying out consultation work with families impacted by violence towards indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people that is largely unnecessary.

"This government is duplicating what's already been done," said Point-Douglas MLA Bernadette Smith, who says she spent two years speaking with families on the idea of creating MMIWG2S+ licence plates.

A red dress is one of several designs created for Manitoba's MMIWG2S+ licence plates (Source: Manitoba Public Insurance)

"I'm a direct family member and I've done the work around this issue," said Smith, whose sister, Claudette Osborne-Tyo, has not been seen since 2008.

In a statement provided to CTV News, a spokesperson for MPI said the crown corporation, in partnership with the provincial government, has "sought feedback from Indigenous communities, including affected family members, on several proposed licence plate designs and a final design will be shared in conjunction with the launch of the plate."

The license will cost $70, with $30 from every purchase going towards a designated charity that has not yet been identified.

Both a design and charity have already been chosen by affected families, says Bernadette.

"Families asked for a red hand, that or the red dress," said Smith, adding that families she spoke to suggested funds from the sales of the specialty license plate go towards an education fund for children who have lost their primary caregiver.

A red dress is one of several designs created for Manitoba's MMIWG2S+ licence plates (Source: Manitoba Public Insurance)

MPI expects once their consultations are complete that the MMIWG2S+ licence plates will be available to the general public later this year.

"The license plates could have been in production way sooner," said Smith, "We would probably have the licence plates on cars today had (the province) originally supported the bill."

In October 2022, Smith introduced a private member's bill to create a licence plate to commemorate the victims of violence towards Indigenous Women, Girls, and LGBTQ2S+ people. The Progressive Conservative government did not support the bill when brought to the Legislature floor.

At the time, Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said a bill wouldn't be needed to create the plate and directly asked Manitoba Public Insurance to have the plate ready for this summer.

“We would have liked to see this government support this on the floor of the Manitoba Legislature because, ultimately, they signalled to the families in Manitoba that are missing loved one that they don’t support them," said Smith, "For them to direct MPI signals to the families that support isn't there, unfortunately.”

CTV News has reached out to the province for a response but we have not yet heard back.

This is a developing story.

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