New report slams Missing Women Inquiry

Three B.C.-based human rights organizations have released a report critical of the Missing Women Inquiry.

The inquiry is set to release its report at the end of this month, but the organizations say their report criticizes the inquiry’s process.

The report by West Coast Leaf, Pivot Legal Society and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association is titled “Blueprint for an Inquiry.”

Lindsay Lyster, President of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, says the inquiry excluded the voices of marginalized women from the Downtown Eastside.

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“Every day that this inquiry went on, you saw Aboriginal women, outside on the street protesting, not inside the inquiry testifying,” says Lyster.

Lyster also criticizes the delay in setting up the inquiry — eight years after the arrest of serial killer Robert Pickton — saying “the culture of delay was evident.”

The report says police and government interests were over-represented at the inquiry by 25 lawyers from some of the country’s top law firms. Only two lawyers were appointed to represent the families of the missing women.

Families of the missing and murdered women say they still hold out hope for the release of the official report, but that the process was flawed.

“The biggest error is not listening to the people, second, there were millions of pages of documents and they brought out what was valid and needed for them. Who are they to say what is valid?” says Michelle Pineault, family of the missing women.

“Our voices were not being heard, no one was listening to us once again, just like when my cousin went missing, you saw it all over again,” says Lorelei Williams,.

“The voices of the women were not heard at all.”

The inquiry’s report will be presented to the provincial government on November 30.