Commissioner Brian Eyolfson is known as the inquiry’s “true lawyer”: donnish, quiet, utterly overshadowed by his fellow commissioners.

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But together, their accounts provide the first clear picture of why an inquiry born of such high hopes no sooner started than began to fall apart.

How much of the criticism levelled at the inquiry is well-founded is, itself, hotly debated. C.’s Indigenous court in New Westminster a decade ago without a budget from the government, wonders whether some of it arises from misogyny.

Of a “toxic culture.” Of soul-destroying delays, high profile resignations, lost friendships and disagreements that could not be overcome.

Of a fledgling commission, launched to fanfare and hope, that seemed suddenly on the brink.

The Liberal government was delivering on one of its key campaign promises, revealing details of its much-anticipated inquiry into Canada’s 1,200 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The transfer of power to five independent commissioners took place inside the museum’s Grand Hall, overlooking the Ottawa River—a solemn space that oozes symbolism, with its six-storey view of Parliament, works by Haida icon Robert Davidson and, troublingly, perhaps, one of the world’s larger collections of totem poles.

Police were often late to launch investigations, many of which were haphazardly carried out; and politicians just didn’t seem to care.

Only three years ago, survivors, families of the dead and missing, and the wider Indigenous community had been galled to hear Stephen Harper, the former prime minister, say an inquiry into the issue wasn’t “high” on “his radar.” It seems additionally tragic, then, that in the 13 months since, the hope and spirit of Gatineau seems to have all but disappeared.

Three months later, his co-commissioners would follow him out the door.