VANCOUVER – Adrian Dix, leader of the B.C. New Democrats, and Maurine Karagianis, critic for women’s issues, commemorated International Women’s Day and released the following statement:
“We live in a world where the lives of women and girls are less and less restricted by their gender. This is something to celebrate.
“But we must also take the time to remind ourselves that, for many women and girls, their gender means ongoing discrimination and increased risk of economic marginalization, health issues and—most chillingly—gender-based violence.
“This is especially true of women and girls who are also members of visible minorities. They are doubly marginalized and face even greater risks. There is perhaps no group for which this is more true than Aboriginal women.
“In this context, the government’s continued foot-dragging in implementing the recommendations of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry is especially troubling.
“The Commission released its report and more than 60 recommendations in November 2012. Yet sixteen months later, the government has made pitiful progress implementing the recommendations.
“If the government was sincere about its commitment to a violence-free B.C. for Aboriginal women, it would act now to implement those recommendations. In particular, it would act to provide a shuttle bus service on Highway 16 and access to drop-in centres for vulnerable women, both of which were identified as urgent recommendations in the report.
“Slogans will not help improve the lives of vulnerable women, but meaningful action will. Now is the time to act on the Missing Women’s report.
“In the struggle for genuine equality for women and girls we have made great progress. But women and girls cannot call themselves truly equal until they are all afforded the same opportunities and protected from discrimination, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. That is the goal toward which we must continue to strive.”