Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: What Does Oppal's Report Mean for CJ?

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: What Does Oppal's Report Mean for CJ?

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: What does Oppal's report mean for CJ?


An editorial from the Kamloops Daily News, published Dec. 20:

The report itself is 1,448 pages and details the long and painful history of many women, their fates at the hands of Robert Pickton and social attitudes and behaviours that inevitably enabled the serial killer's actions.

Former B.C. attorney general and Court of Appeal Justice Wally Oppal's voluminous effort concludes a lengthy inquiry into the deaths and disappearance of scores of women in the Lower Mainland.

At its core, Forsaken: The Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry is a recognition that society and the police did not do what was required to solve some murders and prevent others. To that end, Oppal made many recommendations he hopes will break down old attitudes and replace them with new ones.

While many commentators have focused on Oppal's criticism of the police investigations, the fact is Oppal's condemnation goes deeper and includes all of us. Oppal says the women were seen by society as "throwaway victims," a disturbing label.

"Would the reaction of the police and the public have been any different if the missing women had come from Vancouver's west side? The answer is obvious," Oppal said when he released his findings earlier this week.

The police did not do enough and the public was largely indifferent to the deaths and disappearances of so many women because the missing and the dead were poor or drug-addicted or living on the fringes of society.

Oppal's report must be seen as a damning indictment of public attitude as much as it a criticism of police inaction. Why did we not care more about the violent ends of so many? It's easy to say we didn't know but that answer comes up short -- extremely short -- when we consider how little things have changed.

We still don't care about those who live in the fringes and we don't need to look farther than our own community for proof.

In Kamloops, not more than three weeks ago, a 16-year-old Terrace girl was found dead in a ravine in lower Sahali not far from residential development. Somebody murdered CJ Fowler. …

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