B.C. accused of stalling on Pickton inquiry recommendations
Coalition calls on province to take immediate action on missing women inquiry report
A coalition of 20 First Nations and women’s groups is slamming the B.C. government for failing to implement recommendations from the inquiry into serial killer Robert Pickton.
"We're sick and tired of going to funeral after funeral after funeral. Enough is enough," says Grand Chief Stewart Phillip with the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, one of the groups to write the letter.
"We are completely frustrated and disgusted with the unwillingness and inaction on the part of the provincial government."
In a strongly worded letter to B.C. Attorney General Suzanne Anton, the coalition — which includes Atira Women’s Resource Society, the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the Pivot Legal Society and others — accuses the government of stalling.
"We don't want to see yet another inquiry with dozens of recommendations that simply sit on a shelf and go nowhere," Phillip said.
"We know that the status quo will perpetuate the issue missing and murdered women."
A report released in December 2012 blamed years of inadequate and failed police investigations for allowing Pickton to prey for years on women in the sex trade in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal issued 63 recommendations, including enhancing public transit to northern B.C. communities, especially along the so-called Highway of Tears, and increasing funding so centres providing emergency services to sex trade workers can stay open 24 hours a day.
But Phillip says work has only begun on two of the report’s 63 recommendations.
The province says work hit a snag in May after the resignation of Steven Point, who was appointed to make sure the recommendations are implemented. His replacement hasn't been named.
Anton says work on a number of the recommendations is underway but was unable provide details.
"There's all kinds of them. But when we're ready to make announcements, then we will," she said.
Pickton was arrested in February 2002. He was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2007. The remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his pig farm. He once told an undercover police officer that he killed 49 women.