Wayne Roberts, aptn National News
British Columbia’s missing women’s commission of Inquiry held its first public forum in Vancouver.
The inquiry is set to look into how various police forces handled the case of Robert Pickton.
The pig farmer was convicted of killing 6 women and has confessed to many more slayings.
Yesterday’s forum was an opportunity for Commissioner Wally Oppal to hear from families who have lost loved ones on Vancouver’s downtown east side.
A number of family members, politicians and members of the public talked about Pickton and how police handle cases in the notorious area of Vancouver.
Bernie Williams works with people in the area.
Williams organized the Walk 4 Justice after her mother and two sisters were murdered.
Her question revolved around the police handling of the Pickton case.
“My question keeps going back why did it have to take 69 women plus for it to get this far how many years after the fact it is still happening yet.”
Police had information about Robert Picton as early as 1996. But neither the RCMP, Vancouver police or Crown prosecutors fully investigated him.
In December 2007, Pickton was convicted of murdering 6 women between 1990 and 2002 and is now linked to 32 other killings.
Vancouver Police later issued an apology for not catching him sooner.
Wally Oppal was BC’s Justice Minister during one period that Pickton was killing women. At one point he refused to hold a public inquiry into the murders in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Now he says it’s time to get answers.
“Most of all what we are interested in is what happens to the information that the police received what did they do with it would the existance of one police force have had a more efficient way of solving the crime.”
Federal NDP MP Libby Davies says there must be a full investigation.
“This whole question of the missing and murdered women is probably the greatest failure in our society.”
Local Vancouver politicians also spoke at yesterday’s forum.
Ellen Woodsworth is a city councillor who is now wondering whether the scope of this inquiry shouldn’t be broadened to include the rest of the country.
“We need a national inquiry…Why are hundreds of women across canada going murdered and missing and how that relates to first nations women.”
Others called for a inquiry into the infamous cases surrounding BC’s Highway of Tears.
The next forum will be held on Friday in Prince George, BC where families will get a chance to talk about the Highway of Tears.
Wally Oppal is hoping to start the inquiry into Robert Pickton in June.