The Pickton verdict is in, but change still needed

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support today for as little as $1 per month!

I am deeply concerned that with the conclusion of this trial, nothing will change.

Editor's note - Over the weekend, the verdict came in: Robert Pickton was convicted of six counts of Second Degree murder. He was later sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

The trial of the missing women is now concluded.

But still there are many issues that disturb our consciousness, and trouble societyabout the desperate situation that the missing women faced in their tragic lives.

First and foremost I express my deep sympathy and support to the family, friends andthe communities of the missing women, who endured their loss and faced the horrorsof a 10 month long trial that has been unprecedented in Canadian history, and waspreceded by many years of frustration, inaction, and denial by those in a positionto act.

With the conclusion and verdict of the trial, there are still many questions thatmust be answered.

Why did so many women go missing and why are sex workers, particularly, at suchgreat risk? Why are these women disproportionately Aboriginal women? Why did thesystem fail them, including law enforcement authorities, all levels of government,the judicial system, and public policy itself?

I am deeply concerned that with the conclusion of this trial, nothing will change.Sex workers will remain at risk without the minimum of their basic human needs beingmet. Harmful laws will continue to be enforced against sex workers, and conditionsof poverty, discrimination, racism, and violence will continue as well.

Surely the trial of the missing women must compel us to act, to seek answers andmake changes that will minimize the risk and harm that sex workers face.

I call on all governments to act in the memory of the many hundreds of women whohave gone missing across Canada. Needed changes must include law reform, improvedpolice training, and the security of basic human rights for housing, a livingincome, social supports and an end to violence.

I also call for a public inquiry into policing issues surrounding the missing women,to determine why it took so long to properly investigate the numerousdisappearances, and whether there was negligence and wrong doing by law enforcementofficials in carrying out their duties, and what crucial lessons must be carriedforward.

Healing the community that has grieved for so long and remembering the missing womenis a critical part of coming to terms with the enormity of what has taken place. Istrongly support community initiatives that are underway to remember the missingwomen and believe they help build a better understanding of what has happened.

Most of all, I want to see changes made at every level, so that the women who are atrisk today, will not be at risk tomorrow. No person in our society should experiencethe danger and risk that these women faced.

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.