Statement by BC NDP leader Adrian Dix on Vancouver Police Department work on the Michael Nestoruk case

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New Democrat leader and MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway Adrian Dix issued the following statement thanking the Vancouver Police Deparment for their work on the Michael Nestoruk case:

“As MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway, I wish to thank the Vancouver Police Department for its dedication and work in the wake of an arrest in connection with the 2009 murder of Michael Nestoruk.

“On April 9th, 2009 the body of Mr. Nestoruk was found by parents dropping off their children at Carleton Elementary School in East Vancouver. At the time of his death, Nestoruk was homeless, in a wheelchair, and had a prosthetic leg. His death had a profound impact on the Collingwood Neighourhood in East Vancouver.

“Michael’s senseless murder affected people from all walks of life in our community. Most of us remember that day, from the students who had to leave school for Collingwood Neighbourhood House, to small business people and community members who knew Michael in his final months. The fact that after five years the Vancouver Police Department continue to pursue this case and made an arrest is a tribute to them and to our commitment to one another as a society – that every person, every life matters.

“Today, we remember Michael Nestoruk as well. Not just for his struggles and his tragic death, but for who he was: an intelligent, vibrant person. Permanently injured at age 15, Michael struggled with drugs for most of his adult life. But he was also a father who struggled with determination to get off the street; and at times an eloquent advocate featured, for example, on the 50th Anniversary video of the BC Paraplegic Association. His memory should stay with us not just because of how he died, but who he was as a person.

“And I think of our neighbourhood. The students at Carleton Elementary School, their parents and teachers who in the years following this tragic event worked together to save their school and to rebuild the roof on the original schoolhouse building, now occupied by Green Thumb Theatre, that the provincial government had wanted to tear down in the wake of vandalism.

“Collingwood Neighbourhood House runs a breakfast and shower program for the homeless and our community looks out for one another. Our diverse neighboorhood is rich with volunteers. And when terrible events occur, such as the death of Mr. Nestoruk, we stand up for one another with solidarity and generosity.

“I know I speak for our community when I thank the officers who worked on this case for their commitment. And to send our thoughts and prayers to Michael Nestoruk’s family and friends.”