Aug. 9, 2011 - The Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) and West Coast LEAF (the Coalition) have withdrawn from the Missing Women Inquiry, citing the government's failure to provide funding for counsel for community groups (full letter below).
Inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal granted standing to 13 community groups and recommended that these groups receive funding commensurate with their differing levels of participation. Commissioner Oppal found that the participation of these groups was necessary to the work of the Commission and that they required counsel in order to participate.
However, on July 22, Deputy Attorney General David Loukidelis confirmed the government's decision not to fund any of the 13 groups.
This week will be a busy one for Glendene Grant but she describes it as resulting from "a mother's passion for her child." She will appear on radio and TV, give print media interviews, and talk to anyone who will listen.
The Kamloops, B.C., internet technician lost her daughter, Jessie Foster, four years ago, after the 22-year-old disappeared from her home in Las Vegas. Grant has hardly paused in the time since, the trauma of the loss compelling her to reach out in every direction, and across international borders in the effort to locate Foster.
"I absolutely can't stop, but I've had some people ask me why I'm wasting my time. It hurts," Grant said.
Ours hearts give a damn. The public -- Indigenous communities with their mainstream Canadian allies -- march every Valentine's Day in support of their disappeared women. Now it's time for the government to act.
A sign at Vancouver's annual Women's Memorial March, held on Thursday, read: "We should all care. And remember."
Let me stop here to note that the Vancouver Downtown East Side (DTES) rallies have been going on for 22 years. That is 22 years too long. Eight years too long in Toronto. Three years too long in Ottawa.
The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) learned this week of the resignation of Ms. Robyn Gervais from the position of Independent Counsel for the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry to represent "the perspectives of Aboriginal women." Her withdrawal confirms our concerns and observations about the failures of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry process. Amongst her reasons for withdrawal, Ms. Gervais cited the delay in calling Aboriginal witnesses, the failure to provide adequate hearing time for Aboriginal panels, the lack of ongoing support from the Aboriginal community, and the disproportionate focus on police evidence at the Inquiry.