B.C.’s Ex-Attorney-General Opposes National Inquiry into Missing Women

The former B.C. attorney-general renowned for leading months-long inquiry into missing women in British Columbia, Wally Oppal, has stressed that it is not necessary to hold a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women. Oppal pointed out that factors causing the high rate of violence for native women are already recognizable and that recommendations from his 2012 report could be applied across the country.

Attorney-general for Missing Women Commission of Inquiry into police investigations of women reported missing from Vancouver’s hard-scrabble Downtown Eastside between 1997 and 2002, Oppal, stated that “we don’t need one [a national inquiry].” He said that “before we start embarking on a national inquiry, we have to ask ourselves, ‘what will we learn’ from an inquiry – and I don’t think that there’s anything more that we can learn.’” Additionally, Oppal said that an inquiry can give a voice to communities and families whose perspectives might otherwise not be heard.

Mr. Oppal made these remarks in response to numerous calls for a national inquiry from groups and individuals including the survivor of a brutal attack in Winnipeg, teenager Rinelle Harper. Addressing the Assembly of First Nations in Winnipeg this month, Ms. Harper demanded a national inquiry. Commenting on that, Mr. Oppal stated that “tour heart goes out when you hear that, and mine did too when I heard that – but I think the answer is to deal with her [request] by going into the communities and let’s do something about the educational system.” He said that “running water. Housing. Those are the things that are really needed.”

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