Mayor Robertson and Vision Support Inquiry
Mayor of Vancouver Gregor Robertson and his Vision team has finally announced their support for an Inquiry into the murdered and missing women cases.
This is a positive sign since it appears that Vision and the Mayor are listening to the people and public sentiment that some form of Inquiry is needed.
Last week a diverse group came together at City Hall to start the process of laying the groundwork for such an Inquiry.
MP Libby Davies attended as did representatives from MP Dr Hedy Fry and MLA Jenny Kwan offices.
Sex Workers and advocacy organizations including WISH and PACE attended as did representatives from groups Pivot, Portland Community Services and Feb 14 Memorial March Committee.
Very importantly, a number of family members and members of the Aboriginal communities were present at the meeting.
The City showed goodwill by granting permission for our group to use a committee room at City Hall to hold the meeting. Moreover, the Director of social Planning for the City of Vancouver, Maryclare Zak found time in her hectic schedule to attend. She listened intently to the concerns being brought forward by the meeting participants.
The City Manager, Dr Penny Bellam must be thanked as well as the Social Planning office since it appears we may have the opportunity to embark on a collaborative approach with the City in addressing safety for sex trade workers and other women.
The Vancouver Police Department did not attend and this is concerning since they have a sex trade liaison officer assigned to the Community. Constable Linda Malcolm relayed that only one individual from the VPD is authorized to speak on the murdered and missing women's cases and that is Deputy Chief Doug LaPard.
A call was made to Deputy Chief LaPard extending an invitation to the meeting but unfortunately he has not replied or responded to our invitation.
Our goal is to lay the groundwork for such an Inquiry. We feel that the most impacted and least listened to must be heard at any such Inquiry.
It is our hope that we can turn the page and move forward and eliminate the horrendous violence which sex workers at the Pickton property and all over continually endure.
The Community Inquiry Committee is operating in a transparent way and our meeting minutes after being approved are open to the public. Anyone is welcome to attend our meetings.
Next meeting is Thursday, September 2 at the WISH Centre from 10 am until 1 pm. Lunch is provided.
Jamie Lee Hamilton