Jamie Lee Hamilton: It's a shame that groups are withdrawing from the Oppal inquiry into missing women

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      I must state how disappointing it is that a number of political organizations are pulling out of the missing women's inquiry largely because, although they were granted standing, they were denied funding by the government.

      The funding requests, one assumes, were so that these groups could hire researchers and pay lawyers. It also seems to me that the various groups should take up their case with the government, which is denying them funding. But to withdraw now from the commission hearings really concerns me.

      Many of us will be appearing before the commission providing testimony, and we haven't asked for a penny. This commission of inquiry is to investigate what went wrong regarding the numerous disappearances and subsequent murders of countless women from the Downtown Eastside.

      The commission is on a fact-finding mission regarding the disappearances, and hopefully will make recommendations so this type of violence can be prevented from happening again.

      The commission, I believe, honours the missing and murdered women and ensures that there is some justice accorded to them after death. The women's voices will be heard via family and community members and this will ensure nothing gets swept under the carpet. Everything said will be part of the public record.

      I question what is gained by the withdrawal of a number of groups from the commission hearings. This inquiry is supposed to be about the missing and murdered women—and these actions by a few groups striking out at the commission seems really misguided. In fact, if any of these groups have evidence, withholding this evidence seems really counterproductive to ensuring justice for the DTES women.

      While others purport that these groups are there for political reasons, I would hate to think these groups are only willing to speak and give evidence provided they receive financial compensation. This seems, in fact, really callous. I'm terribly disappointed that any group would act in such a manner, which comes across as extremely exploitative regarding the circumstances and tragedies of missing and murdered women of the Downtown Eastside.

      Jamie Lee Hamilton is a sex-trade activist who tried for many years to draw attention to the missing women in the Downtown Eastside.

      Comments

      6 Comments

      james green

      Aug 9, 2011 at 5:14pm

      To the premier. Level the playing field and make sure all stakeholders gain equal resources so they can make the contributions so needed to make the process complete.
      We must all remember there is a lack of understanding and empathy if one has not been a victim or a member of a community that is a victim of poverty, violence, racist, and survivors of loved ones who have been murdered. The provincial governments callous disregard here is a sad commentary. This commission is perhaps one of the most important commissions in the history of this province, city and country.
      For this process to be fair and complete and to gain closure we need all parties fully funded and at the table.
      We must all pressure the premier to correct this immediately.

      Ken Long

      Aug 10, 2011 at 12:53am

      Hello Mr. Green. I like your comment.I like Mr. Opel. He was and still is a good man. Disgraceful, he was required to run in Delta. When the liberals have a good gentle man and a good gentle woman like Ms Taylor who was against the HST, they are so disrespectful. Who run in Mr. Opel original riding? My guess is the disgraced Mr Heed. Now to make along story short, is our unelected fearless leader trying to short suit the inquiry. I think she knows that Mr.Opel will not tow the Govt line and be open and fair minded unlike the panel on the HST. Can our Flopflip Queen be pressured good question. In closing, I thank you again for the comment.

      Second Nation

      Aug 10, 2011 at 7:59am

      New headline: "It's a shame that some individuals are repeatedly hijacking causes to bolster their lack of self-esteem"

      LostMyGlasses

      Aug 10, 2011 at 12:00pm

      Yea, just hang in there despite being slapped in the face by Liberal cutbacks to funding of women's groups, and their denial of funding for this inquiry.

      6 million to Basi and Virk to keep quiet on Liberal scandals, but yea, these women should just shut up and appreciate that their is even an inquiry in the first place.

      /sarcasm

      JamieLee

      Aug 10, 2011 at 1:57pm

      This Commission of Inquiry is supposed to be about the tragic circumstances of how women and some men in the sex work industry lost their lives. I am concerned how these people who have never had a connection to life in the sex work industry or sex work safety are now trying to call the shots regarding the Commission and in the process, if this Inquiry, which the middle class poverty workers and civil libertarians with good paying jobs are now attempting to derail does not move forward, ultimately it only harms the men and women engaged in the street level sex trade where violent predators stalk and hunt down their victims!

      Mike Puttonen

      Aug 11, 2011 at 12:37am

      Jamie Lee Hamilton was on this from very early days. I think her views have to be respected. She was right and so many from the cops on out were wrong, for a long, long time. This obscenity showed us the need to protect the civil rights and safety of those who choose to be sex trade workers.

      But the larger discussion will have to take us out out beyond protection against hazards in choice of profession, into the truth out there in B.C. -- We know there is a realm of trauma, of cause, and effect, something meant to look like "fate" working itself out in declining resource communities festering under old wounds (hick towns native and white), losing their beautiful children down sewers of alcohol, abuse and flight to the city and death. All that has to be talked out, to get to the enduring truth.

      There's a hell of a lot of responsibility to go around. It might just be better if the larger discussion were held under the auspices of the elders of Alkalai Lake or any number of other equally savvy FN bodies with records of turning tough situations around and moving out of the shadows of the past.