APTN National News
VANCOUVER–British Columbia’s Missing Women’s Inquiry was hit with another major setback Tuesday after a major provincial First Nations organization said it would no longer take part in the process.
The First Nations Summit officially withdrew Tuesday from participating in the inquiry created to look into why it took police so long to catch serial killer Robert Pickton.
The organization’s decision comes in the wake of an earlier high-profile withdrawal. Lawyer Robyn Gervais, who was representing Aboriginal interests at the inquiry, announced she was quitting her post Monday because the inquiry was excluding the voices of Aboriginal people.
The majority of Pickton’s victims were Aboriginal.
First Nations Summit Grand Chief Ed John referred to Gervais in a statement announcing the organization’s decision to quit the inquiry.
“The voices of these families and that of our communities must be respected and heard,” said John, in a statement read to Commissioner Wally Oppal Tuesday. “We come to the conclusion, given all these developments…those voices are not being respected or heard. This continues to reflect…a systemic pattern of discrimination. We feel the inquiry will not be able to fulfill a critical part of its mandate.”
John said the organization would find “alternate ways for the voices of the families of the missing and murdered women and our communities to be heard and respected.”
The First Nations summit was granted limited standing at the inquiry. The organization is made up of the majority of First Nations and tribal councils in British Columbia.