VICTORIA— Action is urgently needed given that more Aboriginal women have disappeared without a trace in British Columbia than in any other province, say New Democrats.
“There are more than double the number of unsolved cases of missing Aboriginal women in British Columbia than any other province, and we also have more unsolved murders of Aboriginal women than any other province,” said New Democrat women’s critic Maurine Karagianis.
“It’s time for the B.C. Liberals to stop making excuses and implement all of the recommendations of the Missing Women’s Commission.”
One recommendation from the Missing Women’s Commission that has seen no action is for safe, accessible transportation to be brought in immediately along Highway 16, also known as the Highway of Tears. Many Aboriginal women have gone missing after hitchhiking along the highway.
“The Missing Women’s Commission recommended that safe, accessible transportation be brought in along the Highway of Tears immediately. That was back in 2012, and since then Greyhound service has been cut in half,” said North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice.
“Many Aboriginal communities have no real public transportation available. Women are forced to hitchhike in order to do basic things that people in other communities take for granted. The B.C. Liberals’ failure to take this recommendation seriously is putting Aboriginal women at risk.”
Referencing the murders along the Highway of Tears, the Missing Women’s report noted “it is clear that there is a serious systemic lack of response to violence against Aboriginal girls. This extreme vulnerability to violence is insufficiently acknowledged and therefore rendered invisible.”
“The RCMP’s report confirms what the Missing Women’s Inquiry said in 2012,” said Karagianis. “It’s time for the B.C. Liberals to stop dragging their feet on implementing all of the recommendations in the Missing Women’s report.”