Thursday, May 31, 2007



Tonight I received a post from Judy McGuire, longtime general manager at DEYAS who now works for Network 2. She provides an insightful perspective on my piece, I Have a Confession, especially around the late John Turvey's position on the murdered women's cases.

It is timely and relevant so I have posted it here below in Bold. Thanks Judy--JLH

Hi Jamie Lee.

Just read your piece on Pickton, which I found quite thoughtful. However I want to make one correction. John’s point was not that there wasn’t a serial killer; he maintained (as did I and some others) that there was likely more than one around, given the number of women involved and the fact that not all fit the same pattern. In fact, DEYAS, which produced the Bad Date Sheet through all those years, in collaboration with Dave Dickson, Deb Mearns and the Neighbourhood Safety Office and some others were also raising alarm bells about the number of women going missing long before sufficient resources were brought into play to really connect the dots in the investigation.

I think those of us intimately involved were all pushing in our own ways. DEYAS and the Safety Office worked with WISH to set up Safety Nights once a month for the women and were strongly involved from the first steps in the investigation. I know you were out there too and good for you for being so. It’s all too sad and frankly I think far more money should have been directed many years ago to helping the women move off the street and stabilize their lives. Too many were victimized ultimately because they had no other options but the street.

Thanks for the blog. Always interesting.

Take care,


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


As my astute readers have figured out, I haven't been blogging much about the Pickton trial since after its first two weeks, although I was requested by Orato, an online news source, a few weeks back to contribute a piece regarding my thoughts on the trial to date. I decided to frame my story around the horrendous Cheryl Ann Joe murder which took place here in Vancouver in 1991.

Like many of the public, I needed to turn off the sensationalism coming out of the trial, however, this didn't or doesn't dilute my concern. I will always feel the need to bring attention to the plight of hundreds of sex workers murders in Vancouver, pre and post Pickton charges. No question, our ladies of the night, as we call them, are vulnerable to violence. Predictably, my hard hitting article in Orato didn't create a ripple. This re-enforces for me, that as a society, we have continued to bury our heads in the sand around this serious matter of sex worker safety and drug violence. This deeply troubles me.

And it screams out Why, Why, Why?

For the most part, society doesn't see itself directly impacted by violence toward marginalized communities and individuals. Whether, its sex trade workers, gays or druggies being brutalized, citizens tend to take a Pollyanna approach of oh its happening to those people and those of us who lead strong moral lives do not run the risk of being victimized. This violence happens to them and will never happen to me. This thinking in turn creates, in my opinion, very unhealthy communities which in turn allows monsters to flourish.

Whether people want to admit it or not, sex workers, were not born to be prostitutes. We tend to be out on the street or drug addicted as a result of poverty, victimization at the hands of very unhealthy, pathetic individuals who lack normal feelings. These perpetrators tend to be focused on greed and power. Anything deemed subservient to these factors, paves the way for sex workers being deemed expendable.

The remains found at the Pickton farm, sadly became known as society's expendable or throw-a-ways.

And lets be clear here, many of the women whose remains were located at the Pickton farm were from a community. They tended to gather together and socialize with one another. And where they went, others followed. The Pickton farmlands provided an atmosphere where, many drug addicted sex workers congregated, had access to drugs and in many cases may even have found some measure of comfort. They appeared to have connected to a somewhat slow and I think, gentle and not very worldly man.

Mr. Pickton, most likely didn't have many friends. He would also fit into the category of being a social outcast in society since he too, through no fault of his own, lived outside what are considered to be the acceptable norms of society. He probably was lonely and so he took up with sex trade workers who wouldn't judge him. I suspect he didn't judge them either. During this trial, we have heard of Mr. Pickton's generosity and compassion. He helped others and this doesn't seem to me to be the mark of a monster.

Mr. Willy Pickton unfortunately probably lacked the social skills to figure out that those he cavorted with or helped, themselves could be predatory, greedy and prone to violence.

This trial has shone a light on others who had regular contact at that farm. As of yet, throughout this trial, they haven't taken the stand so we are not able to judge their characters. We have often heard their names mentioned. Lynne Ellingson, Scott Chubb, Andrew Bellwood, Dinah Taylor, Pat Casanova and others. Because they haven't testified we don't know much about them. Although, one can safely assume they too most likely were social outcasts like Mr. Pickton and all the women whose DNA came to be found on the farm.

If Mr. Pickton is the monster that others in society want him to be, I question how this community of outcasts didn't know what was going on. Unless of course they did and then this brings up the unthinkable and unmentionables.

Enter Gina Houston, a thirty-nine year old gaunt woman riddled with cancer. Now, confined to a wheelchair and most likely with her days numbered, she proclaims and professes her caring of her good friend, Mr. Pickton. A friend who helped her and her children financially on many many occasions. She estimated that Mr. Pickton in fact provided her between $50,000 - $80,000 over the years. She also states under oath that Mr. Pickton informed her that others were responsible for killings of between 4-6 women on his farm. Ms Houston collaborates certain facts about Sereena Abotsway and Mona Wilson being at the farm.

While this trial so far has shown us that many remains and DNA were found at the farm. In my opinion, what it hasn't shown is this--who are those responsible for committing--what are countless serial killings?

The investigation of the numerous missing women, delivers to us, a neatly wrapped package in the form of one Mr. Pickton and consequently, I have a confession to make.

I don't think Mr. Pickton is responsible for actually committing the crimes that the crown suggests he has.

As a result, I know people will say, there goes Jamie Lee again, thinking she knows more than the experts. Again, to my readers, friends and foes alike, I just ask you to remember this startling fact. When others were burying their heads in the clouds, pretending that nothing was going on, I was the one forcefully speaking out, saying that these women were being murdered at alarming rates by a serial killer. Others poo-pooed my beliefs, including the late social worker and champion of drug-addicts, John Turvey, who said my claims were nothing but a red herring.
Mr. Turvey was joined by other experts who dismissed my claims saying there was no proof of serial killings. Others said we will not fund a location service and to add insult to injury, prominent journalist, Allen Garr, after I lobbied for $100,000 reward money to find those responsible, claimed my efforts to be blackmail. You see I was saying that if these were Westside women going missing, there would have been an outpouring of resources to find out who was responsible.

And I hate to say it but I'm going to. They were wrong and I was right.

And make no mistake folks, the reward money has loosened a number of lips. Today we are seeing this played out in courtroom 'P' in New Westminister. In fact, we will continue to witness for a number of years, this sensational drama unfold.

Those testifying have been offered reward and are being well taken care of with your hard earned tax dollars. In return for helping the state convict one slow and not very smart person, many others will walk free.

The reason others will walk is that investigators and I hate to say this, as I tend not to use foul language, in the beginning of the missing women's cases really really fucked up. Too much is at stake here and I suspect the general consensus is that its better to target and convict a dimwit than to open up a Pandora's box, which by charging others, surely would do.

The state doesn't want a whodunit scenario as this demonstrates the depravity of what many individuals involved in supposed harm reduction processes (active drug addiction) are capable of. And lets call a spade a spade here. Harm reduction refers to the granting or social permission to troubled souls so that they can freely inject themselves with dangerous chemicals which alter their brain chemistry and turns them into god only knows what.

And then we expect them to live normally among us.

Deeply concerning, these same individuals are protected by the powerful and rich who have staked their political careers on helping the rich, or in the case of supposed progressive politicians, supporting the harm-reduction philosophy. This is not surprising, considering just like politics, drug use also involves greed, money and power.

And as these harm-reduction protagonists religiously encourage self-destruction, the end result we can see from the Pickton farm carnage, is the creation of monsters who once let out of the bottle are madmen running berserk.

Society then pays a huge price, both socially and economically.

If we don't change our thinking and eliminate our selfish ways, the monsters which society creates will continue to roam free among us.

Wonderful legacy isn't it?

Jamie Lee Hamilton