“When the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry was established on September 27, 2010, many observers felt it might be a waste of time and money. It concluded its work on November 22, 2012 when the Commissioner delivered his report recommending, among other things, that the “Provincial Government establish a compensation fund for the children of the missing and murdered women” and “a healing fund for the families of the missing and murdered women”. At this point, more than eight months later, the funds have not been established and the children and families of the missing and murdered women have yet to receive a dime of compensation for the losses of their loved ones. One could say they have been forsaken yet again by a government that does not care a whit about the disadvantaged and marginalized.“Some others were well funded by the government, however…”
The following was published December 18, 2012 but numbers for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013 are added.
Two years ago, Attorney General Mike de Jong picked his predecessor to lead the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. Oppal was a safe choice politically, which is the reason BC Liberals made the appointment.
Let’s not pretend they needed to pay millions to Oppal and friends to learn anything about missing and murdered woman. The BC Civil Liberties Association, Pivot Legal and countless social service agencies and aboriginal groups had been speaking to deaf ears about the issues for years.
Oppal’s exercise was window dressing, aimed not at achieving results but pretending government cared about the weakest people in our society. The provincial government signed a 20-year RCMP contract with no significant change in local accountability, it fought against being accountable itself before the Davies inquiry into the Frank Paul homicide. In various actions, BC’s provincial government has stood strong with police against victimized citizens.
However, for the handful of folks managing the Oppal commission, people who live in fine homes and drive fine cars, this was a real opportunity for personal achievement. There was money to be made. Big money.
We’re left to wonder how an inquiry conducted by a very few people can cost $9 million or more in two short years. If we visit the website of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, we don’t find any financial disclosures and today, in response to a question about cost of Oppal’s epic, Minister of Justice Shirley Bond refused to answer.
By searching the Detailed Schedules of Payments, we can find a few details.
Remember, information is only available to March 31, and the numbers continued upward in the 8 1/2 months since. In addition, these amounts do not reflect expenses paid by the Commission to facilitate work of people it employs. Fiscal 2011 and 2012 (with fiscal 2013 now added) show the favoured few earned:
- Wally Oppal, $ 434,935 plus $405,000 in fiscal year ended Mar, 2013, total of $839,905
- Art Vertlieb $ 680,912 plus $219,744 in fiscal year ended Mar, 2013, total of $900,656
- Jessica McKeachie $ 237,612 plus $105,524 in fiscal year ended Mar, 2013, total of $343,136 (She was called to the bar May 2011, worked for Oppal while articling, typical salary in Vancouver = $45,000, most first year associate lawyers dream of earning $ 90K)
- Melina Buckley $ 219,246 plus $503,326 in fiscal year ended Mar, 2013, total of $722,572
- Karey Brooks (Her law firm, Janes Freedman Kyle, billed $ 577,710 plus $373,920 in fiscal year ended Mar, 2013, total of $951,630)
- John Boddie (An associated firm, Boddie & Associates Ltd., billed $ 400,313 plus $268,352 in fiscal year ended Mar, 2013, total of $668,665
This is not a comprehensive list but it should be enough to stir outrage. Particularly, because today, RossK, The Gazetteer, is reporting that the BC Liberal government told social workers they are not allowed to purchase Christmas gifts for the children in government care and that any gifts already purchased must be returned. By mid-afternoon the ministry is claiming this policy was a mistake, now rectified. Ah, the power of social media. Thank you readers.
I paraphrase Joseph Welch,
Have you no sense of decency, Premier? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
Laila Yuile checks in with her comments on this subject: Three very important questions for our families first premier… if she isn’t too busy Christmas shopping, that is…
Categories: Christy Clark