The BC legislature resumes today, as memorial marches are being held across the province to remember missing and murdered women, and to draw attention to the province’s lack of action to stop violence against women.
According to organizers, the first women’s memorial march was held in 1991 in response to the murder of a Coast Salish woman in Vancouver. This year marks the 21st march, bringing people together to honour and remember missing and murdered women, and to call for an end to the violence women face on a daily basis.
“We are here to honour and remember the women, and we are here because we are failing to protect women from the degradation of poverty and systemic exploitation, abuse and violence. We are here in sorrow and in anger because the violence continues each and every day and the list of missing and murdered women gets longer every year,” says Marlene George, Memorial March Committee organizer.
The march follows a demonstration yesterday by local advocacy groups, hoping to draw attention to their ongoing concerns with the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry. The Commission was established by the BC government to examine why serial killer Robert Pickton was not arrested earlier, despite reports of evidence of his guilt, and to examine police conduct respecting women reported missing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Since its creation, the Commission has been heavily criticized for its lack of respect for those most affected by the inquiry. For example, the majority of Downtown Eastside organizations in Vancouver were granted standing at the inquiry, but then withdrew from the process after the province refused to cover their legal costs.
Reports today found that over $4 million has been spent on the inquiry so far. There are now 24 lawyers at the inquiry, most representing police or former police officers, whose legal fees are being paid for by the officers’ employers. Read more about this story here.
More information on the Missing Women’s Inquiry can be found at the following links: