Advocates slam slow pace of Missing Women recommendations 0
Wally Oppal's long-awaited Missing Women Commission of Inquiry report was released Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
A coalition of B.C. advocacy groups is accusing Victoria of dragging its feet with the implementation of recommendations from the Missing Women Inquiry released in December.
“The province has been extremely slow in taking action … despite the glaring urgency for real and substantial change to be made on the ground,” wrote the coalition, which includes local legal groups and victim relief centres, in a letter to newly appointed Justice Minister Suzanne Anton.
The Inquiry examined the reasons why it took police so long to capture serial killer Robert Pickton. In May, four families of the Port Coquitlam pig farmer’s victims filed suit against the province.
“This pursuit of litigation will impact the government's current process in responding to the recommendations,” former justice minister Shirley Bond said in a statement later that month.
But the coalition said Bond’s position unfairly blamed those families for the government’s inaction.
“Nothing’s changed,” said Mona Woodward, executive director of the Aboriginal Front Door Society, whose organization is part of the coalition.
“They (B.C. government) need to be accountable in fulfilling their commitment on prioritizing the missing and murdered women.”
Anton said in a statement the province “is committed to creating a legacy of safety and security for vulnerable women — and progress is being made.”
She didn’t, however, specify what new recommendations are being worked on since the victims' families filed suit or provide a timeline on when they are to be implemented.
One recommendation from the Inquiry report released last December called on the province to fund shelters that could provide 24-hour support services for sex-trade workers.
Bond pledged $750,000 to expand operations at WISH Drop-In Centre. That grant expanded the centre’s operations from five hours to 17 hours a day.