Coroner’s Inquest needed for Azraya Kokopenace: MPP Campbell
QUEEN'S PARK – During Question Period today, Sarah Campbell, NDP MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, demanded the Premier listen to the Kokopenace family, and the Grassy Narrows community, and support their call for a coroner’s inquest into the death of their daughter, Azraya Kokopenace.
“There’s a lot we don’t know about what happened to Azraya: why did the police drop her off at the hospital? And why did she walk away?” Campbell said. “But what we do know, from her father, is that Azraya needed help. Azraya was involved with the child welfare system, and under the care of the hospital when she went missing.”
“Will the Premier commit to bring the Kokopenace family, and her community of Grassy Narrows, some peace and back their call for a coroner’s inquest?” Campbell said.
In April, Azraya Kokopenace, a 14-year-old girl, and member of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, walked away from the Lake of the Woods Hospital in Kenora. She was found dead two days later.
“Yesterday’s acknowledgement of the Truth and Reconciliation process was a moment when government recognized a need to listen, be humble, and acknowledge the powerful legacy of our relationship to the First Nations,” Campbell said. “But we need more than acknowledgement: we need action for the mental health crisis from this legacy for First Nations – especially for young people – a coroner’s inquest is required here.”
“What response does the Premier have for Azraya’s family? And the community of Grassy Narrows—which is already reeling from environmental devastation – and what action is the Premier prepared to take?” Campbell said.
The Kokopenace family’s call for a coroner’s inquest has the support of the Grand Council Treaty #3, the Chief and Council of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, and the Grassy Narrows Youth Organization.