Budget & Estimate Disasters

The real change is to Oppal’s wallet

As a companion piece to the preceding article, I republish another from December 2012:

It’s not our fault, we’re awesome

Wally Oppal’s report on missing and murdered women runs 1,638 pages. It is filled with politically correct dialogue that spreads blame so far and wide, it has little focus. Almost none is aimed at the BC Liberal government that presided during most of the murder spree he studied. Oppal gives advice to people who shouldn’t need advice, the technocrats we pay handsomely for alleged expertise.

The Liberal’s man for all seasons blames us all, even victims’ families and human rights advocates — the people NW’s Bruce Allen calls “poverty pimps” — whose pleas for action fell on deaf ears. Also included would be Kim Rossmo, the VPD profiler who warned of serial killing but was systematically undermined and harassed by superiors and chased from the department.

Oppal doesn’t deny racism and sexism; he calls it inevitable:

Law enforcement agencies mirror the society they serve. Thus the historic and continuing racism and sexism within Canadian society is likely to be reproduced in discriminatory policies and practices within law enforcement…

I believe it proven long before Oppal’s tome that the root causes of atrocities played out from the epicentre within Vancouver’s downtown eastside are similar to those behind the unsolved murders on the Highway of Tears between Prince George and Prince Rupert. The causes are persistent unwillingness to deal with both poverty and substance abuse, a common response in lives filled with pain.

Of course racism and sexism amplify the willingness to exclude poor women at the dark margins of Canadian society. But, we expect police and social service managers to meet the highest standard. It is not acceptable to justify racism and ignorant acts by the leaders because there is racism and ignorance among the followers.

Primary response to Highway of Tears symposium

Six years ago, 33 recommendations were drawn up by participants at the Highway of Tears symposium. In 2012, almost none of those suggestions, mostly prevention measures, have been followed. We cannot suppose that Wally Oppal’s lengthy report will make any real difference. This provincial government is more focused on shifting profits of liquor distribution to their supportive friends than applying those profits to ameliorate the social devastation from alcohol abuse. They give billions to private power producers but won’t spend a tiny fraction on secure and affordable transit across Highway 16.

We’ve hundreds of thousands of dollars each for police chiefs, deputy Justice ministers, judges and court officials, special prosecutors, public relations staff and others. But, we’ve little money to provide the poor with safe transportation, emergency communications and prevention programs. This Liberal government is the one that has closed or reduced substance abuse programs throughout the province.

If the root causes of murder and mayhem are to be addressed, we need to divert spending from gold plated pensions for politicians and senior bureaucrats, fancy offices, convention centres, spectator sport palaces and other non-necessities. Instead of arming police with modern weaponry, arm them with the skills needed to treat everyone with maximum humanity.

23 replies »

  1. I think discriminatory policies played a large part in this tragedy. How large a part I don't know. And I do think we all share part of the blame for the attitudes towards women,especially first nations women,and the poor and marginalized in our society. However,this does not excuse the utter incompetence and the indifferent attitude toward these people that police exhibit. They do need to be more professional in their attitude and outlook.

    As for the liberals they always look after the corporate pirates first. The shocking thing is that it's taken the people of BC this long to come to terms with this simple basic fact. There will always be people in BC who simply don't care about the Highway of Tears or missing women. For them life begins and ends with a tax cut and “getting government out of our lives”.

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  2. One of your best, Norm.

    The header and opening paragraph says it all.

    Thank you for another year of sharing with us news and insight we cannot get anywhere else.

    The best to you and yours now and in the new year.

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  3. Correct Norm. Just like the Ombudsperson's report on elder care. Big doorstop document, little focus and no blame… See http://www.seniorsatrisk.org/2012/04/bcs-ombudsperson-report-hides-worst-abuses-in-residential-care/

    Wally Oppal's report on missing and murdered women runs 1,638 pages. It is filled with politically correct dialogue that spreads blame so far and wide, it has little focus. Almost none is aimed at the BC Liberal government…

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  4. Seems insignificant but……Why is does a government document have a cover page like a novel? Does the author get paid by copies sold by the Queens Printer or does he have a publisher? Mighty fine artsy cover design we paid for. Just thinking that the exploitation continues.

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  5. This happens when flacks have more status and influence than true public servants. This government cares only about image and the Oppal report is all about demonstrating, falsely, that they CARE about people. I read Oppal's justification for the cover and it was probably written by inexperienced advertising person who thinks reality is what you pretend it to be. Old cynics like me think that reality reflects what actually happens at ground zero.

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  6. This Liberal government, and indeed the party has a whole has got to disappear. What an incredible waste.
    Resources both financial and intellectual, should not be squandered by the few, so that they can manipulate the rest of us, into paying a high price because of what they “think” of themselves. The arrogance and malfeasance of these folks, knows no bounds…what a disgrace to the people of this province. As for us old “cynics”, the “truth” is what it is and what it is seen to be. “Whitewashing or coloring” to give a particular flavor, to an issue of the day, only demeans it in the eyes of the reader, in this case the public. Lack of substance on this issue, is not what is needed, an informed analysis is.

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  7. Thanks. I really appreciate your contributions and those of the many thoughtful people that add comments here.

    As we draw toward the end of year, I've looked at stats since this site began. Now in our 4th year, reader visits are still rising faster than a deputy minister's salary. 2012 numbers almost double 2011 and we've got more regular readers than all but a handful of newspapers in this province.

    I'm proud of the network of citizen journalists that has developed in British Columbia. I'm only one but the collective followings we attract prove that corporate media fails to allow full coverage and discussion of issues. You've probably noticed their growing tendency to publish articles closed to comments.

    I'm honoured and encouraged for the support of all readers and thank you sincerely.

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  8. I saw this press conference with Oppal and I thought what is wrong with him?

    I think his brain has been pickled by expensive scotch. Really, he doesn't seem to be all there anymore.

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  9. If your readers are interested in what really happened on the Pickton farm and specifically at Piggie's Palace, I'd suggest they google Kevin Annett. His accounts of the atrocities that occurred there and the players involved are, I'm certain, far more accurate than the epic fairy tale Mr. Oppal has undoubtedly concocted.

    Once again this government has demonstrated how little it cares for these victims and their families.

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  10. I am so angered by this I am afraid to speak on it out of respect for the victims of Robert Pickton.
    This decrepid old fool takes time from his duties to act in a B rated horror film and collects taxpayers money because this government thinks his rotting brain is efficient enough or intelligent enough to handle this task!
    This is so insulting at every level.
    An inquiry so devoid of any real meaning that a junior attorney felt the need to remove herself because she could see the utter shame of it all.
    Mr. Opal and the BC Liberals discusting can't even come close to explaining how revolting you are!

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  11. All I can say is excellent Norm! This morning it seems like one of your best, but then I may be forgetting some formidable competition. The following post about the cost of a bus from P.G. to P.R. really puts it all into perspective.

    But hey, we should all know by now that the politicians aren't there for the little people, the average people, but to insure we all serve their masters – the one percenters. For their efforts in the elite's interests the Gordos and Treasonous Stevens get bigger crumbs than the rest of us…………and get treated as if they deserved some kind of respect, when actually they deserve only contempt!

    Speaking of Oppal, nothing is less conducive to finding the truth than a high priced Stonewall!

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  12. I suppose the Liberals learned their lesson when they appointed Ted Hughes to conduct an inquiry into a death of a child in care. He held the government to account and produced concrete recommendations to make things better. With his reputation, he was able to be viewed as unbiased. We can't repeat that example again, can we….

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  13. These women died because no one cared period, but especially including the people who are to “serve and protect “society.

    The very fact that those in charge have to ask for recommendations from anyone to implement the “glaringly obvious” as characterized by one previous poster, brings up the obvious question; why do these arrogant little pissants have the positions of employment they have in the first place?

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  14. Thanks for the heads up on the Kevin Annett site. Very interesting reading especially things of this nature

    “If Canada and its churches are found guilty for crimes against humanity, Canadians are obliged under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to not pay their taxes, lest they be found guilty of colluding in criminal actions.”

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  15. “The Liberal's man for all seasons”

    Indeed.

    As per usual Norman you have hit the nail on the head.

    The nagging question is why?
    Why “it's before the Courts Oppal” ? All the time ?
    I for one have no answers, but it would benefit all British Columbians, if the lid were to be blown off this.

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  16. The only thing named after Wally Opal is the “Wally-Wagon” or 609 bus in South Delta. Doesn't go anywhere in particular, no one rides it, but still costs over $500,000.00 a year to operate. Sounds like its namesake!

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  17. Wally is chancelling* at the Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.
    I remember many years ago, Stan Persky attempted many times to be appointed to be chancellor of UBC. (Of course no New Democrat would EVER be awarded that position.) Stan was asked why he continued to try for the position. Stan responded: “I very much want to chancelle”. Of course it was Stan's way of saying: “Why the fuck does a university need a chancellor?”

    Ray Blessin
    Kamloops

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  18. Great comment. I was at UBC when Stan Persky circled about campus with his band of Arts Faculty acolytes. Stan might say that Wally wanted to wear the gowns that Chancellors get to wear.

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