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.