Action missing from Premier Clark’s promises on missing and murdered Aboriginal women

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VICTORIA — While Canada’s premiers are in PEI supporting a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women, back at home in B.C. Premier Christy Clark has failed to act on recommendations from our own inquiry and has made cuts to police investigations, say New Democrats.

“Premier Clark is with the rest of Canada’s premiers on Prince Edward Island saying she backs a national inquiry into missing and murdered women, yet the B.C. Liberals just cut more than a million dollars in funding for the very police investigators whose job it is to solve these horrible crimes and help bring closure to families whose loved ones who were murdered,” said New Democrat public safety spokesperson Mike Farnworth.

“This comes at a time when British Columbia has the highest number of unsolved cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in the country. What’s worse, it’s been almost three years since B.C.’s own inquiry wrapped up, and the B.C. Liberals haven’t implemented even the most urgent recommendations called for by the commission,” said Farnworth.

Farnworth noted the B.C. Liberals cut $1.4 million from the RCMP which will result in the loss of more than a dozen investigators who work on the Special Projects, Unsolved Homicide and Missing Persons programs.

New Democrat women’s issues spokesperson Maurine Karagianis noted that in July Premier Clark stood up with First Nations leaders and pledged to take action, and then she did nothing to bring the recommendations from B.C.’s inquiry substantially closer to completion.

“Premier Clark says what she thinks people want to hear, and then she does nothing,” said Karagianis. “She says she wants to take action to reduce violence against First Nations women – yet, she refuses to do what the commission recommended and bring in a shuttle bus along the Highway of Tears to give women in First Nations communities safer options for getting around.

“It’s been almost three years since that report was delivered, a report which said this shuttle bus should be a priority. Yet, despite making promises, the B.C. Liberals have done nothing to provide this basic, life-saving service.

“And, instead of taking action to solve the murders and missing persons cases along the Highway of Tears, potentially stopping a serial killer as well as bringing closure to families – they are firing police investigators who do this work.

“New Democrats have long supported a national inquiry to address the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. However, it’s not enough to simply have an inquiry, as the B.C. Liberals did, then ignore the recommendations. There needs to be action.”