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BCCLA and UBCIC slam BC government decision to stop working on missing and murdered women recommendations

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VANCOUVER – The BC Civil Liberties Association and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs reacted this morning to the government’s statement that civil litigation by children of Robert Pickton victims may stall its work in responding to the recommendations of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, and the resignation of Steven Point as advocate for the recommendations.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated: “We are extremely concerned and disgusted that the BC Government – as one of its first official actions – appears to be backing away from critical work on the urgent issue of murdered and missing women because children of Pickton’s victims are suing the government after being denied justice both in the courts and at the Inquiry.”

Micheal Vonn, Policy Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, stated: “Legally, these lawsuits in no way prevent the government from making long overdue changes and from taking the advice of affected communities on what changes should be implemented. To us this looks like the government trying to protect itself from potential financial liability in court cases by refusing to make any policy or legal changes that might look like an admission of wrongdoing or negligence.

“The Attorney General says that the government “remains committed to creating a legacy of safety of security for vulnerable women”. On the contrary, it appears that the government is prepared to indefinitely stall or abandon this work. This is a terrible indicator of the state of the government’s commitment to women’s safety and equality.

“We will be meeting with our coalition partners who have been working together on the issue of missing and murdered women to decide on a course of action.”