BLUEPRINT FOR AN INQUIRY

Learning from the Failures of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry

From the perspective of the hundreds of marginalized women who protested the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (“the Inquiry”) every morning for the first month of hearings, the Inquiry was an absolute failure. This perspective is shared by the B.C. Civil Liberties  Association, Pivot Legal Society and West Coast LEAF, the human and democratic rights organizations that produced this report.

The Inquiry was set up to examine the problems arising from investigations of the disappearance and murder of dozens of women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (“DTES”), and particularly the investigation of serial murderer Robert William Pickton. Out of the failures of the Inquiry, which are well documented and understood in the affected communities, the hope of the authors is that a positive legacy can still be uncovered.

If nothing else, this Inquiry demonstrates what should not be done in conducting a public inquiry involving marginalized communities. It therefore functions as a useful lesson for similar inquiries in the future, no matter where they take place. This report does not focus on the nuances of B.C. provincial law, but instead on broad trends and procedural approaches that future commissioners of inquiry and their staff may usefully adapt to the particularities of their own jurisdictions.

If there were only one recommendation to come from this report, it would be that commissions of inquiry that intend to work with marginalized populations as witnesses, or inquiries that are called in response to the concerns of marginalized communities, must consult thoroughly at every stage with those communities and the organizations that work with those communities.

Consultation and Collaboration: Voices of the community excluded

The Inquiry excluded the voices of individuals and communities that it should have worked the hardest to include: Aboriginal women, sex workers, women who use drugs, and women living in poverty who were most affected by the Pickton murders and the resulting investigations, and who remain at extremely high risk for violence.

The Commission repeated the very mistakes that led to serial murderer Robert Pickton being able to operate with impunity in the first place – the voices of marginalized women were shoved aside while the “professional” opinions of police and government officials took centre stage. The focus of the Inquiry was directed away from systemic issues, targeting instead individual participants in the system who may not have fulfilled their job requirements as expected.

Please see the report on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

New report critical of Missing Women Inquiry issued weeks before Inquiry’s deadline

New report critical of Missing Women Inquiry issued weeks before Inquiry’s deadline

Media Advisory, November 18, 2012

Vancouver- A new report on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (MWCI) will released on Monday morning by three leading BC human rights organizations just weeks before the Inquiry’s Commissioner delivers his final report to the Attorney General of BC at the end of this month.

What:
Release of report on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry by B.C.
Civil Liberties Association, Pivot Legal Society and West Coast LEAF

Where:
Carnegie Centre Theatre, 401 Main Street, Vancouver (Main and
Hastings)

When:
Monday November 19, 10:00 a.m.

Who:
Kasari Govender, Executive Director, West Coast LEAF
Katrina Pacey, Litigation Director, Pivot Legal Society
Lindsay Lyster, President, BCCLA

For more information, please contact:
Katrina Pacey, Litigation Director, Pivot Legal Society – (604) 729-7849
Kasari Govender, Executive Director, West Coast LEAF – (604) 339-0202
Lindsay Lyster, President, BCCLA – (604) 689-4457

Please see the new report on the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

Bajo Juárez – The City that Devours its Daughters with Alejandra Sanchez and Beverley Jacobs–Photos

Bajo Juárez – The City that Devours its Daughters with Alejandra Sanchez and Beverley Jacobs – Photos

 

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Mandy Nahanee

On September 8, 2011, Battered Women’s Support Services and Vancouver Latin American Film Festival co-hosted a special screening of Bajo Juárez – The City that Devours its Daughters, featuring Alejandra Sanchez the filmmaker and Beverley Jacobs former president Native Women’s Association of Canada. 

Over 120 people attended the screening held at W2 Media Cafe in Vancouver, BC.  We were joined by Mandy Nahanee and Rosa Elena Arteaga.  Here’s our blog with all the details of the event  Bajo Juarez – City that Devours its Daughters

 

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Mandy Nahanee

 

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(foreground)  Jesus Gonzalez and Esteban Gonzalez

 

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Beverley Jacobs

 

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Beverley Jacobs

 

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Rosa Elena Arteaga and Alejandra Sanchez

 

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Rosa Elena Arteaga and Alejandra Sanchez

 

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Alejandra Sanchez

 

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Beverley Jacobs

 

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(front left) Sara Yassan

 

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(back left)  Annie Zhang

 

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Alejandra Sanchez

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Beverley Jacobs

 

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Alejandra Sanchez

Thank you Alejandro Gonzalez for these wonderful photographs!!

© photos by alex gonzalez, oaxaca studio, 2011

Royal Commission on Violence against Aboriginal Girls and Women

In consultation with the University of Calgary Moot team and in preparation for the 2011 Kawaskimhon Moot held in Vancouver from March 5-7, 2011, Battered Women’s Support Services initiated a call for a Royal Commission on Violence against Aboriginal Girls and Women. A royal commission has the ability to address the historic, social, legal, economic, child welfare and political challenges facing Aboriginal girls and women across Canada, while recognizing that violence against Aboriginal girls and women is a grave national concern.

In order to redress systemic inequality and to eliminate this violence, BWSS stresses that there is a responsibility by all to address this issue. BWSS is recommending this Royal Commission on Violence Against Aboriginal Girls and Women not only to address the gaps and to address issues affecting Aboriginal women and girls, but to also make concrete and specific recommendations to end violence against Aboriginal women and girls at a national level.

Read the entire document here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REEL CAUSES is proudly supporting the Women's Memorial March

REEL CAUSES is proudly supporting the Women’s Memorial March through its February Event & the screening of “Finding Dawn” & “Survival, Strength, Sisterhood: Power of Women in the Downtown Eastside”

When: Friday February 18th
Time: 6:30 pm
Where: Langara College – Room A130 , Langara College is accessible through Canada Line (7 mins walk), buses running on Main, 49th & Cambie. Free parking in the area and College Paid parking Lots.
Tickets : 10 $ RSVP [email protected], 12 $ at the door.
100 % of what you pay goes to support Women’s Memorial March.

“Survival, Strength, Sisterhood: Power of Women in the Downtown Eastside”

A short film that documents the 20 year history of the annual women’s memorial march for missing and murdered women in Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. By focusing on the voices of women who live, love, and work in the Downtown Eastside this film debunks the sensationalism surrounding a neighbourhood deeply misunderstood, and celebrates the complex and diverse realities of women organizing for justice. (32 mins)

“Finding Dawn”

Dawn Crey. Ramona Wilson. Daleen Kay Bosse. These are just three of the estimated 500 Aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered in Canada over the past thirty years. Directed by acclaimed Métis filmmaker Christine Welsh, Finding Dawn is a compelling documentary that puts a human face to this national tragedy. Finding Dawn illustrates the deep historical, social and economic factors that contribute to the epidemic of violence against Native women in this country. It goes further to present the ultimate message that stopping the violence is everyone’s responsibility. 2006, 73 min 29 s

Women’s Memorial March:

The Feb 14th Women’s Memorial March began after the brutal and tragic murder of a Coast Salish woman in Vancouver’s downtown eastside (dtes) at the end of January 1991. The particularly brutal nature in which she was murdered was the catalyst for women in the community who were fed up with the continued violence and murders of women. The women organized a march on VALENTINES DAY, a universal day that denotes an expression of love, togetherness & caring, they stopped at places women were murdered: red roses, cedar boughs and tobacco were left at each of the sites. Elders pay tribute to the women with a sage ceremony and prayers being offered.
Twenty years later the march continues, the ever increasing names to the memorial brochure is kept as a marker and stark reminder that much work has yet to happen to prevent and end violence against women in the downtown eastside.