More than two year later, almost nothing has changed for people most in need.
The following was first published August 8, 2013:
In 2009, Delta South voters decided that one term MLA Wally Oppal was not the person they wanted to represent them in the Legislature. That decision made him eligible for a severance payment from taxpayers worth $127,000. This eligibility was not affected by the almost $200,000 a year pension he received for work as a Superior Court judge, nor the fact that he was about to be appointed Chancellor of Thompson Rivers University and Commissar of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, a sinecure that paid him close to $1 million with much more for high-priced friends to do the real work. He also is Senior Counsel with Boughton Law, a firm that billed $1.9 million to the BC government in fiscal years 2011-2013.
To put the income of Oppal and friends in context, from Statistics Canada we learn that the median family income of British Columbians in 2010 was $66,970, about $3,000 below the national average. According to the Conference Board of Canada, one of the country’s five census divisions with the lowest median income is in Northern British Columbia. From that territory are drawn some of the missing and murdered women that were subjects of Wally Oppal’s inquiry.
It is for Northern BC that I throw out a challenge, more particularly for the women who might otherwise be future victims on the Highway of Tears between Prince Rupert and Prince George. Twice daily service by Greyhound between the two cities costs about $300 return, not an affordable sum for people struggling to survive.
This is part of my December 17, 2012 article, Poor people are economic stimulators for a few:
“…I checked with an operator and discovered that a 25-passenger bus with two drivers could shuttle from Prince George to Prince Rupert and back three times a week at a yearly cost of about $220,000. That’s cost, no operator mark-up but it would change things on the Highway of Tears.
“How many lives would that save?”
So Mr. Oppal, if you and your friends contribute 5% of your billings to the inquiry, a shuttle service could be operational for a year. Call me and I’ll put you in touch with people that can do it.