Wally Oppal submits missing women inquiry report to B.C. government

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The B.C. Liberal government says it will release the 1,448-page report of the Missing Women Commission to the public in mid December.

Today (November 22), the Ministry of Justice announced it has received commissioner Wally Oppal's final report on the police investigations concerning missing and murdered women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

This news comes days after three human-rights groups released their own report critical of the public inquiry.

According to Blueprint for an Inquiry, put out on November 19 by West Coast LEAF, Pivot Legal Society, and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, the inquiry excluded the voices of aboriginal women, sex workers, and women living in poverty.

“This inquiry was a missed opportunity to include the voices of marginalized women, of marginalized communities, and those who were directly impacted by the subject matter of the inquiry. It perpetuated the very problems it sought to alleviate,” Kasari Govender, the executive director of West Coast LEAF, said at a press conference on November 19.

The rights groups also criticized the terms of reference for the inquiry as being too narrow in scope. The commission was limited to probing the police investigations between January 23, 1997, and February 5, 2002, of missing women in the Downtown Eastside.

Oppal was originally scheduled to file his report by December 2011. Upon the former B.C. attorney general's request, the deadline was extended to November 30.

"I have submitted my report to government. It is a substantial report and it will take time for members of government to fully review it and my recommendations. It will also take some time to have the report printed. Once this is complete, it will be publicly released. When we are able to, we will announce the date for the public release," Oppal said in a statement today.

"It has been a long and difficult road, but I have put forward strong recommendations. I want to thank the many individuals, groups, associations and organizations that participated in this Commission of Inquiry. Their input was invaluable and their voices are reflected in this report and the recommendations. This is important work and I am honoured to be a part of it," Oppal continued.

"We have an opportunity to make real change in British Columbia; change that helps to better protect our most vulnerable citizens, and by doing so, leaves a positive and lasting legacy for the missing and murdered women."

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