By David P. Ball - Windspeaker
The release of Wally Oppal’s scathing final report from B.C.’s missing women inquiry was met with sobbing, drumming, and anger on Dec. 17 as families and friends began the next stage of grieving for their lost ones, and rights groups rallied around the call for a Canada-wide investigation.
The commissioner concluded more than a year of testimony, reports and controversy, ruling that “systemic bias” by RCMP and Vancouver police had repeatedly “forsaken” dozens of missing Native women.
In response, B.C. Attorney General Shirley Bond appointed former Lt. Gov. and former Stó:lo Nation chair Steven Point to “champion” Oppal’s recommendations.
But with more than 600 missing and murdered Native women documented countrywide, (some speculate that number might be as high as 2,000) rights groups are pressing on with demands for a national inquiry.
“This inquiry dealt only with the failure of police around Vancouver to investigate and prosecute William Pickton in a timely way,” said Michèle Audette, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. “The Oppal inquiry did not deal with all of the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls even in the province of British Columbia, and the murders and disappearances have continued.
“The Oppal inquiry did not focus specifically on Aboriginal women and girls, and the multiple factors which cause the epidemic of extreme violence against them. Because of this limitation, we need a national public inquiry that is focused on the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls in every part of Canada, which will deal withttp://www.ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/‘colossal-failure’-police-left-picktonh the systemic patterns and causes of the violence.”