Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, has repeatedly called for a public inquiry into why girls and women, many of them native, have disappeared from or been found murdered along B.C. highways over the past 40 years. The provincial government has so far failed to commit to an inquiry. That isn’t good enough, Phillip argues, because the families have waited too long for answers. All deserve cold case reviews.
Phillip believes B.C. should follow the lead of Manitoba, which has formed an inter-agency task force to investigate cases of missing and murdered women in that province. Edmonton is active as well. It has a $100,000 reward offered for information about similar unsolved cases. Phillip’s requests for a reward in B.C. have been rejected by provincial government, he said.
The current RCMP E-Pana investigation is examining only cases of murdered or missing women along three specific B.C. arteries: Highways 16, 97 and 5. Similar cases on other highways in B.C. and Alberta are not included, police say, for funding reasons and to keep the investigation a manageable size.
Phillip argues much more action is necessary in B.C., where there are two high-profile missing women cases: the Highway of Tears and the 64 women who vanished from the Downtown Eastside. Twenty-six of them are alleged victims of serial killer Robert (Willie) Pickton. A recent tally by the Native Women’s Association of Canada indicates there are 520 “known” cases of missing or murdered native women, and that B.C. has the most of any province with 137 victims.
Phillip called for a change in how police investigate these cases, noting that many victims’ families have complained over the years about how their initial missing-person reports were treated poorly by officers.
Re-Investigating cold cases should be done irrespective of any discrimination. I find racism appalling. I hope you do too. Cold case reviews should happen irrespective of age, gender, religion, political affliation. and any other reason you can think of to label someone “different.” Read the entire article here.