Over the past several weeks, high profile actors have been pulling out of the B.C.’s Missing Women Comission of Inquiry, threatening its legitimacy. In recent days, BCCLA and Amnesty Canada have both withdrawn from the commission, citing a disparity of resources allocated to protecting police officers and government officials, while offering the marginalized women in question no legal counsel. Activist organizations, from whose efforts the commission was born, have decided to boycott the government effort and are organizing protests which will be led by the Coalition of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC) and Feb 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee (WMMC). They have called the inquiry a “sham”.
The commission was initially intended to shed light on the hundreds of disappearances of women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The most notable case linked to this ongoing problem is that of Robert Pickton, former pig farmer and serial killer convicted of the second-degree murders of six women, though he may have had as many as 49 victims.
Ian Hanomansing interviewed several of the key players in this debate on CBC’s flagship radio program The Current. You can hear their conversation here. He interviews Shirley Bond, Harsah Walia, and Ernie Crey.
For more on the subject of Commissions of Inquiry more generally, please see this link provided by the Privy Council’s Office. Indeed, for references sake, the best work on the subject – Commissions of inquiry : praise or reappraise / editors, Allan Manson, David Mullan. Toronto : Irwin Law, 2003.