|OPEN LETTER: Meeting with the Missing and Murdered Women Coalition
February 26, 2014
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4
Via Facsimile: (250) 387-6411
Dear Honorable Minister:
We, the Coalition of Missing and Murdered Women, write you again with regard to your Ministry’s response to the Oppal Inquiry recommendations. We have corresponded with you on numerous occasions, as outlined below.
As you are aware, the Missing and Murdered Coalition met with you in November 25, 2013, after six months of meeting requests. At that meeting, the Coalition provided a submission asking that you immediately act on five priority recommendations resulting from the Oppal Inquiry. At this meeting, you committed to providing answers to us by December 25, 2013.
On December 3, 2013, the Coalition wrote a follow up letter asking you to clarify your comments that your government will likely not be able to implement some of the Oppal recommendations. (Both the Nov. 25 submission and Dec. 3 follow up letter are attached for your reference.) On December 20, you wrote to the Coalition stating that Ministry staff would be connecting to discuss the submission and opportunities for engagement to continue to work on the implementation of the MWCI recommendations.
On January 15, 2014, the Coalition asked for a response to the submission, in which we were once again told that Ministry staff would be connecting with the Coalition further on this.
On January 28, the Coalition asked for a response to a second follow up e-mail sent by the Coalition on January 15, however, your office did not reply to our email.
The Coalition called the Minister’s office on February 5, 2014, and then we received an e-mail invite to meet with ADM Clayton Pecknold, Policing and Security Programs and ADM Lynda Cavanaugh, Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch. Although Minister Anton was not scheduled to meet with the Coalition, we moved forward to accept a meeting scheduled to take place on February 25, at the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs boardroom in Vancouver.
We were extremely disappointed to learn that on February 19, only days before this scheduled February 25 meeting, the meeting was postponed without a follow-up date, and with no commitment, budget or timeline for the implementation of the recommendations from the Missing and Murdered Women Commission of Inquiry.
We have since reviewed the exchange in Question Period on Feb. 25, 2014 regarding the implementation of the Missing and Murdered Women Inquiry Recommendations. Question after question, you were asked to commit funding and provide a timeline for the implementation of the recommendations. Your lack of commitment to implement the recommendations is disturbing and unacceptable.
Specifically on the recommendation to provide a shuttle bus on Highway 16, the Highway of Tears, was a recommendation that came out of the 2006 Highway of Tears Symposium. Commissioner Oppal called on the government to “immediately commit” to developing such a system. It is extremely alarming to learn that you offered the same answer as your predecessor, Minister Shirley Bond and the former Minister of Transportation, Mary Polak, where they both said the government has been “consulting” on this recommendation. The consultation began in Dec. 2012 and it was supposed to be completed by the summer of 2013. It is now 2014, more than a year since the consultation and there is still no shuttle bus along the Highway of Tears.
Not only did you fail to provide a commitment to this urgent recommendation, there was no commitment made to any of the other 4 priority recommendations that were put to you. These include “the implementation of mental health and addiction programs for and by aboriginal women and youth; mandatory police sensitivity training; justice to victims’ families through a compensation fund and the appointment of a champion to implement the recommendations.”
We have waited far too long for resolution on matters related to the MWCI recommendations and we demand that immediate action be taken. We further request a new meeting date no later than March 31st, 2014 so that we can discuss with you directly your response to these important matters.
We look forward to your positive response. Please contact Celia Pinette to arrange a meeting date.
Aboriginal Front Door Society
Amnesty International Canada
Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution
Atira Women's Resource Society
Battered Women's Support Services
B.C Civil Liberties Association
Butterflies in Spirit
Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council
Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society
Downtown Eastside Women's Centre
Ending Violence Association British Columbia
EVE, formerly Exploited Voices Now Educating
Justice for Girls
February 14th Women's Memorial March Committee
First Nations Summit
National Congress of Black Women's Foundation
PACE: Providing Alternatives Counselling & Education Society
PHS Community Services Society
Pivot Legal Society
Poverty and Human Rights Centre
Provincial Council of Women of British Columbia
Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs
Union Gospel Mission
Vancouver Rape Relief & Women's Shelter
West Coast LEAF
WISH Drop-in Centre Society
Women's Equality and Security Coalition
Lynda Cavanaugh, Assistant Deputy Minister Community Safety and Crime Prevention
Sarah Campbell, Executive Assistant to Lynda Cavanaugh
Clayton Pecknold, Assistant Deputy Minister Policing and Security Programs
Minister’s Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.