May 4, 2011 – Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Considers Visiting Northern Communities

VANCOUVER – The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry is considering visiting several communities in northern British Columbia in mid-June to hold forums on the murdered and missing women, Commissioner Wally Oppal, Q.C., said today.

“In particular, I would like to hear from residents about the impact of the women who have gone missing along the Highway of Tears,” said Mr. Oppal.

He noted that he visited Prince George in January to hold a pre-hearing conference at which he provided more information about the public inquiry into the conduct of the investigations by police forces respecting women reported missing in B.C.

“I asked the people of the region to come to the conference to tell me how they had been impacted by the tragedy of the missing and murdered women including victims on what has become known as the Highway of Tears.

“I was deeply moved by what I heard and it served once again to underscore the true magnitude of the tragedy. I also took note of repeated requests for me to visit other northern communities to hear from people who want to contribute to the commission’s work,” he said.

As a result of those requests, Mr. Oppal is considering visiting several northern B.C. communities in mid-June and has appealed to anyone who would like to make a presentation to the commission should he decide to visit their community to contact his office by mail, e-mail or telephone and provide the following information:
• Their name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.
• A brief summary of the subject of their presentation.

The information should be provided to:
Robyn Kendall
Missing Women Commission of Inquiry
#1402 – 808 Nelson Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H2
Phone: 604-566-8034
Fax: 604-681-4458
Toll free: 1-877-681-4470
Email: rkendall@missingwomeninquiry.ca

The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry was appointed by the British Columbia provincial government last year to inquire into the conduct of police investigations of women reported missing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside between January 23, 1997 and February 5, 2002. The Commission’s terms of reference also allow it to inquire into the investigation of missing women and suspected multiple murders throughout the province.

In addition, the Commission will examine the decision by the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch on January 27, 1998 to stop legal proceedings against Robert William Pickton on charges of attempted murder, assault with a weapon, forcible confinement and aggravated assault.

The Commission’s mandate includes a “hearing” commission and a “study” commission. A study commission is less formal than a hearing commission and tends to focus more on research, the gathering of information and the discussion of policy issues. It is not adversarial, questions are posed to participants by the commission counsel and the commissioner, and there is no cross examination.

The inquiry’s study commission forums are expected to begin in Northern B.C. in mid-June. The hearing commission’s formal proceedings are expected to begin later in the year.

Further information about the Commission’s work and mandate is available on its website: www.missingwomeninquiry.ca

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