Monday, February 23

Families must pay own way for Pickton appeal hearing

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail
February 23, 2009 at 10:54 PM EST

The families of six women murdered by Robert Pickton will have to pay their own way if they want to attend a nine-day legal-appeals process scheduled for next month, B.C.'s attorney-general says.

The appeals, scheduled to begin March 30, are a largely technical exercise, as lawyers for the Crown and Mr. Pickton will present arguments in favour of a new trial, submitting “potential legal errors the Judge is alleged to have made …,” a letter to victims' families explains.

Mr. Pickton was convicted in 2007 of six counts of second-degree murder, at a trial attended by many victims' families. Subsidies were provided to them to attend that trial.

But in a letter to families this month, British Columbia's Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor-General indicated that while the hearing will be open for the general public, “travel funding for family members to attend the hearing is not available.”
The province will still provide counselling for victims' families that attend the hearing, scheduled to be held at the B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver.

But yesterday, one family criticized the “callous and picayune” decision to cut travel funding, and said some of the families of the six women won't be able to afford to attend.

“I'm concerned that families who may want to be there will not be there,” said Ernie Crey, who believes his sister Dawn was killed at Mr. Pickton's farm, though she is not one of the six women whom Mr. Pickton was convicted of killing. Mr. Crey attended much of the trial.

“It's a goofy and wrong-headed decision and [the government] should reverse it,” he said.

The ministry letter, dated Feb. 16, lays out the procedural minutiae anticipated to make up the hearings. It also tells families they won't receive daily updates on the hearing through a government website for families of the victims of crime. A general summary of the arguments will be posted after the hearings are complete.

A decision on a new trial won't come out for another “many months,” the letter to families says.

It also says that Mr. Pickton, currently serving life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years, will not be attending next month's hearings. He still faces first-degree murder charges in the deaths of 20 others.

Some of the graphic and disturbing evidence that was not heard by the jury will be reviewed at the appeal court, though it will largely be covered by a publication ban, the letter says.

The Crown and defence both filed for appeals of the conviction.

The Crown is appealing the jury's acquittal of Mr. Pickton on first-degree murder charges, and the trial judge's decision to divide the original 26 murder charges against Mr. Pickton into two trials, one of six counts and another of 20.

The Crown wants to proceed with the outstanding 20 murder charges only if Mr. Pickton's first six convictions are overturned, and argued a second trial shouldn't go ahead until the appeal is finished. Mr. Pickton's lawyers have pushed for a speedy trial on the other 20 charges.

Under its Victim Travel Fund, the B.C. government allocates up to $3,000 per family of any eligible crime victim for “attendance and participation in justice-related proceedings,” including anything “expected to impact the outcome, disposition or results of the proceeding or hearing.” It's available to immediate family - parents, siblings, a spouse and children - who live more than 100 kilometres away from the court. It's not clear which, if any, families of Mr. Pickton's victims used up their $3,000 allocation during 2007's lengthy trial, or if additional funding would be available for those who hadn't.

With reports from Robert Matas

© Copyright 2009 CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Sunday, February 15

18th Annual Women's Memorial March 2009

This is an aerial shot of the crowd at Main and Hastings for the 18th annual Women's Memorial March on Feb 14th, 2009

This is an aerial shot of the crowd at Main and Hastings for ... on TwitPic

Hundreds march to honour Vancouver's missing women

By Graeme Wood, Vancouver Sun
February 14, 2009

Hundreds of demonstrators marched through Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Saturday afternoon for the 18th annual Women's Memorial March to honour missing and murdered women in the community.

"It's an opportunity for the people in the community to come together and grieve in an open and supportive way," said event co-organizer Marlene George.

"Every year it's always been bigger and bigger," she said.

The march began at the Carnegie Centre after speeches from native leaders and family members and friends of the victims, many of whom worked in the sex trade.

David Dennis, the president of the United Native Nations, a native advocacy group, was one of the speakers. On behalf of the UNN and other prominent native groups such as the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, Dennis called on the provincial government for a public inquiry and drew loud cheers from the audience.

"We demand a full public inquiry into the ongoing issue of the murdered and missing women from aboriginal communities, in particular surrounding the murdered and missing women of the Downtown Eastside [and] the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia," he said as he read a letter addressed to Premier Gordon Campbell.

Jason Fleury, a native himself and brother of murder victim Mona Wilson, expressed his anger regarding the trial of former Port Coquitlam pig farmer William Pickton. Pickton was convicted of six second degree murders of women from the Downtown Eastside and charged with another 20 for which he has not gone to trial for.

"There is a war against our people and it's going on every day," said Fleury.

George said the Pickton case still resonates in the minds of the community.

"I think that people are taking responsibility or feeling they need to do something because there's no closure and it's pretty distressing to know families haven't got their daughters' remains back to bury yet even seven years after they were discovered on the farm."

At his first march was Malcolm Dolan, 20, of Surrey, who spoke at the centre about his murdered mother.

"I thought I should say something out of respect for my mom. I never got the chance to know her and I wish I did," said Dolan.

Dolan was only three months old when his mother died.

The march stalled traffic downtown as the crowd, estimated at about 800, visited 21 spots where some of the women were last seen. Red and yellow roses were laid and prayers were given as the scent of smudge filled the air.

Native elders led the procession through streets and alleys as drums beat loudly as a symbol of the heart beat of all native nations. Along the way people sang the Women's Warrior March song.

At one point the march stopped in front of the Vancouver Police Department on Main Street where east Vancouver resident CeeJai Julian, 40, spoke emotionally about the murder of her sister in 1992.

"It took me a long time to start to like the police. There are still struggles today because of the amount of disrespect they show each and every one us down here. We're human beings and these tears are real," said Julian stoking the crowd into cheers.

Julian broke down in tears after a police officer guarding the doors made eye contact with her to listen to her story.

March co-leader Kat Norris, a community activist, said there is a long history of wrong doing by some police officers in the Downtown Eastside when it comes to dealing with aboriginal women and sex trade workers.

Members of the Downtown Eastside PACE Society, a women's advocacy group, called for legal reforms surrounding the sex trade.

Norris said eight other communities, including Victoria, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Calgary, held events of their own for murdered and missing women.

"its our way of showing support and love for these women," said Norris.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Hundreds march to honour Vancouver's missing women

Where have my sisters gone?
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March honours murdered women

February 15, 2009

Carrying photos and wearing the names of loved ones on paper hearts, dozens of people marched together yesterday in remembrance of murdered and missing women.

Joining Canadians in six other cities, 50 to 60 people, many wiping tears, walked through Kensington during Calgary's inaugural Valentine's Day Memorial March.

Cassandra Winiewski, 26, walked for her friend Melissa Munch, slain in Edmonton in 2003, as well as for other murdered women she never knew like Wendy Hewko and Tara Landgraf, both killed in Calgary in the summer of 2007.

"They should not be forgotten and the violence against them should not be forgotten," she said.

"This is so amazing, it's so powerful -- you can feel them all here."

Munch, who she described as "a little pixie" with a cute laugh, had been involved with prostitution at the time of her murder.

"She was my first best friend and she went down the wrong path -- the minute I heard about this I felt in my heart to speak for her," she said.

Scott Fiddler, 42, marched in memory of Landgraf, his friend whose cries for help were unanswered when she was violently sexually assaulted and slain in Ramsay.

"I'm here because I'm angry she asked for help and no one called the police and her killer is still at large -- I'm here because Tara is not," he said.

Organizer Suzanne Dzus said the march, which brought out members of Native communities and representatives from women's shelters, was a chance to raise awareness about the nationwide problem of violence and show love for its victims.

"They were mothers, grandmothers, sisters -- every one of them was someone's daughter," she said.

"Valentine's Day is about love and that's one thing that hasn't been shown to these women."

Alberta Liberal leader David Swann, who also marched, agreed the whole community needs to address violence against women.

"We need to be leaders in the community to the most violated and vulnerable because ultimately they are all our family," he said.

Because 1,700 women couldn't find space at the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter due to staffing shortages last year, more provincial funding is needed, Swann said.

Copyright © 2008, Canoe Inc. All rights reserved

Where have my sisters gone?
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Saturday, February 14

Hundreds march through Vancouver to rally for missing women.

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Her mother and two sisters died in Vancouver's troubled Downtown Eastside - their bodies beaten and left to die, likely by the dealers that were fuelling their habits.

But Skundaal, a Haida woman who uses only one name, says their cases received little attention, their deaths little justice, and to her, the explanation is tragically simple.

"It's just another Indian," Skundaal said Saturday before an annual march to remember missing women in Vancouver and across B.C.

"These are hate crimes against women, women of colour, aboriginal women."

Hundreds of people snaked through the Downtown Eastside to the beat of aboriginal drumming to highlight the dozens of women, many aboriginal, who have died or gone missing from Vancouver or B.C.'s so-called Highway of Tears.

They include the six women Robert Pickton has been convicted of killing and the 20 others whose deaths he is still charged with.

There are the 18 women who've gone missing along the western stretch of Highway 16 across northern British Columbia.

And there are others, including more than 30 still on the Vancouver Police's list of women missing from the Downtown Eastside.

Many of those who attended the Valentine's Day march, some family members of the missing or dead women, focused on the poverty and racism that is the root of many of the problems the women faced - and, they said, the reason they are still waiting for justice.

"If there were women missing or had been murdered who had European ancestry, who came from middle-class backgrounds, there would be outrage, this would be on the front pages every day," local activist Angela MacDougall said before the event began.

"This is about racism, this is about hate. It's just enough."

Police have long been criticized for ignoring cases of missing women in the Downtown Eastside or failing to realize that many of disappearances may have been the work of a serial killer.

Calls for a special police unit to handle such cases began in the early 1990s, but the missing women task force wasn't set up until 1998.

And as recently as 1999, less than three years before the raid at Pickton's notorious farm in Port Coquitlam, Vancouver police said they didn't believe some of the women had been murdered, much less by the same person.

Police have defended their work on the missing women files, and have insisted they have tried to build a better relationship with residents in the Downtown Eastside.

They say the missing women task force continues to investigate outstanding cases.

But that's cold comfort for families who have already lost their sisters, daughters and mothers.

Jason Fluery, whose sister Mona Wilson is among the women Pickton was convicted of murdering, told a packed room at a community centre before the march that police and politicians have turned a "blind eye" to the missing women.

"My sister was a person with a heart and skin and blood like everybody else in this room," said Fluery.

"It goes on everywhere down here, because nobody cares. Our people are dying every day because of it."

Fluery and others repeated calls for a public inquiry into the Pickton case and the other missing women in the province.

B.C.'s attorney general has said any decision about a possible inquiry would have to wait until Pickton's legal saga is finished.

Pickton is appealing his convictions and the Crown has said it doesn't plan on prosecuting the outstanding 20 charges if Pickton's earlier convictions are upheld.

Ernie Crey's younger sister, Dawn Crey, disappeared in December 2000 at age 43. Her DNA was found on Pickton's farm in 2004, although he was never charged in her death.

Crey said if the legal process stops, the families of the women who were connected to the Pickton farm but for whom no one was convicted or even charged may never know what happened.

"It causes me anxiety and anguish," said Crey.

"My concern is that that is where it will all end. This leaves a question mark for a family like mine."

Rallies and marches were also planned in Victoria, Calgary and Winnipeg.
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Copyright © 2009 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.
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Valentine's Day Memorial March. Calgary Alberta.

Dozens of people gathered in Kensington Saturday to march in remembrance of murdered and missing women from southern Alberta. They came with pictures, placards and hearts with names of the women they're honouring.

It's the first time the "Valentine's Day Memorial March" has been held in Calgary. Participant Cassandra Winiewsk was there to represent Melissa Munch.

"She was taken by the Edmonton serial case murderer. She was a prostitute and was taken and brutally murdered and raped and left on the side of a road."

Theresa Rothenbush from the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter marched for an 87-year-old woman who was killed by her husband with one gunshot last year.

"We know that when women come to the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter, 57 per cent of them are at risk of being killed by their partner. So a lot of the violence is quite severe."

Suzanne Dzus organized the march. She says at least 1-hundred women are missing or have been murdered in southern Alberta alone in the last decade.

"This is an issue, and it's not just an Aboriginal women's issue, it's not a women's issue, it's a human issue. This is happening and the women that we're honouring today were all somebody's daughters. You know, we all have a mother."

Liberal leader David Swann participated in the march.

"Clearly a statement needs to be made that it's not acceptable for any group in our society to feel insecure and to be violated and all of us want to stand up for a decent, caring, just society."

Calgary Police Service statistics show officers received more than 12-thousand calls in 2007 related to domestic violence and more than 78 per cent of all spousal violence goes unreported.

The march is also being held in six other Canadian cities including Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton. It began in Vancouver 17 years ago after the brutal murder of a Coast Salish woman.

For information, or to get help, you can call the Family Violence Helpline at 403-234-SAFE (7233). The hotline is open 24 hours a day.

© 2008 CTVglobemedia All Rights Reserved.

Friday, February 13

Missing and murdered women remembered

By Carol Martin
Friday, February 13, 2009

Almost 100 people gathered in front of the Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse yesterday to remember more than 500 missing or murdered women across Canada.

"At this time there are 500 confirmed missing or murdered women in Canada but I have heard numbers up to 3,000," said Bonnie Baranski, an organizer for the vigil.

Students from St. Mary's Collegiate, St. Basil Secondary and the Urban Aboriginal school joined Womyn for Justice at the event.

They lined the north side of Queen Street in front of the courthouse, holding red and white hearts marked with names of murdered and missing women.

A traditional women's drum group played hand drums and sang Ojibway songs.

Vigil participants along the street shouted and waved as passing drivers honked their horns in support over the lunch hour.

This is the 18th year of annual events on or around Valentine's day across the country organized to help keep these women in people's hearts.

"What we're here for is to make sure that every family who has an empty seat at their table, whose family circle is broken, is remembered," said Baranski.

"Women are going missing and they're never heard of again," she said. "Imagine the gaping hole that leaves in the family."

Baranski said that 80 percent of these women are aboriginal and, because of the closeness of their communities, the whole community is deeply affected by their disappearance or death.

Women need to be heard when they make a complaint, especially against a violent partner, Baranski said.

"All too often a woman will go in and get a restraining order against the man," she said. "But somehow he still manages to get in and murder her."

After the vigil, participants were invited back to St. Mary's College to have chili and share their thoughts on the experience.

Baranski also reminded everyone to come out to a free film festival at Sault College on March 6, 7 and 8.

The Womyntribe Film Festival is being organized to celebrate International Women's Day, Baranski said.

View Photo Gallery for this Story

These Women Are Not Forgotten

Angela Pezzotti for
Friday, February 13, 2009, 9:32AM

Members of Womyn 4 Social Justice were joined by students from St. Mary’s and St. Basil’s High Schools at noon on Thursday to remember the missing and murdered women in Canada.

The group lined Queen St. in front of the Court House and waved paper hearts and carried banners to raise awareness of the missing and murdered women from across the country and in particular that 80 percent of those missing and murdered are aboriginal women.

This is the second year that the Womyn 4 Social Justice has organized the vigil; it’s the first year the students have participated.

Rose Marie Valade leader of Chaplin Services at St. Mary’s said that students from the Knights Justice League, the schools social justice organization and a number of students from the native studies and language classes came to the vigil. “We are here standing in solidarity with our native brothers and sisters in support of their search for justice for the missing native women.” said Valade.
Bonnie Baranski of Womyn for Social Justice said they hold the vigil on Valentine’s Day because it’s about love. “These women are stilled loved. They are not forgotten.” said Baranski.

Baranski says the latest incident of a native women going missing was in Saskatchewan.
A 17 year old girl went to a party December 12th and hasn’t been seen since. A Calgary Sun article about the incident says the mother of Tara Lyn Poorman feels that because her daughter is native and was at a party the “authorities are not taking the case seriously”.

In August 2008 Gladys Radek a B.C. women walked through Sault Ste Marie on her way to Ottawa to call for a public inquiry in the missing and murdered women. Radek own 22 year old niece went missing along Highway 16 in B. C.

The 720km stretch of highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert is referred to as the ‘highway of tears’ because of the number of women who go missing along this stretch.

Tuesday, February 10

MISSING PERSON, Maggie Burke vanished without a trace.


New contact phone number: 780.634.4511 or email:

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Project KARE and the Edmonton Police Service are seeking public assistance in locating Maggie Lee BURKE.

BURKE, a missing person, is described as a 21 year old Aboriginal female,170 cm or 5' 7" tall, weighing approximately 55 kg or 120 lbs. She had brown eyes and
naturally brown hair with red streaks at the time she was last seen, December 09, 2004. She was reported missing to the Edmonton Police Service on December 18, 2004.

At the time of her disappearance BURKE was engaged in the sex trade industry, a high risk lifestyle, in the area of 118th Avenue in Edmonton. The Project KARE Proactive Insurgence Team in cooperation with Edmonton Police Service and community organizations in the Edmonton area have been following up on investigational leads, all of which have been met with negative results. Project KARE and the Edmonton Police Service are treating this case as a missing person where foul play is suspected and as such are issuing an appeal to the public for any information that
might assist in locating BURKE.

Police are requesting anyone that has any information on the location of Maggie BURKE or may have seen her after December 09, 2004 to call Project KARE, toll free at 1-877-412-KARE(5273) or the Edmonton Police Service at 423-4567 or Crime Stoppers, toll free.

If Ms. BURKE becomes aware of our interest she is encouraged make contact with investigators.

New contact phone number: 780.634.4511 or email:

Maggie Lee Burke
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The following are two emails to a parent of one of the missing women. These are scam emails trying to take advantage of family members of the missing women. The parent of this missing woman has asked to not include their name or email address and out will not do so, but they have asked that I send this out and post it to help warn families of the missing. If you can please forward to your contacts to help raise awareness.


Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 22:35:02 +0700
Subject: I have information on your missing person

Dear ,

I have an important information on your missing person.
Reply this email so i will give you the information.



Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2008 19:22:12 +0700
To: xxxxxxx
Subject: Info on maggie


Maggie is being held by a man who kidnaps and holds women captive for sex.

I know the exact location and address of were she and few other women are being held captive because i used to be a handyman and i helped build the basement of the house were the man is holding these women until i broke up with him few months ago.

I will only give you the address if you can pay $15,000 dollars only, you will pay $10,000 dollars in advance and pay up the balance amount of $5,000 dollars once she is rescued after i give you the address.

For my safety and to avoid being arrested and charged with involvement in her disappearance, i want to remain anonymous, so please don't inform the police or anybody about my communication with you for now until i give you the address of were she is being held. This rescue plan should be a top secret to the police and people for now because the plan might be jeopardized if you inform the police or anybody now,so endeavor to keep my communication with you to yourself alone. If you inform the police or anybody about my communication with you now, you wont hear from me again and i wont give you the address.

Awaiting your reply


Friday, February 6

18th Annual Women's Memorial March

18th Annual Women’s Memorial March
Published by Patricia February 6th, 2009

The February 14th Women’s Memorial March is held on Valentine’s Day each year to honour the memories of the women from the Downtown Eastside who die each year due to the violence of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse. The Women’s Memorial march began 18 years ago after the brutal murder of a Coast Salish woman that left the neighbourhood in shock. This was the catalyst that moved women to take action against ongoing violence of women in the Downtown Eastside.

The heinous and unimaginable violence that took the lives of Sereena Abotsway, Marnie Frey, Andrea Joesbury, Georgina Papin, Mona Wilson and Brenda Wolfe has left a void in the community.

According to Marlene George, Feb 14th Memorial March Committee Organizer, the community is also awaiting justice for the murders of the additional twenty women. “We demand a full measure of justice for the twenty women whose murders have unfortunately become a closed chapter for this government. These women may not be with us today, but we cannot let their lives and struggles be forgotten.”

These women are: Andrea Borhaven, Heather Bottomley, Heather Chinnock, Wendy Crawford, Sarah DeVries, Tiffany Drew, Cara Ellis, Cynthia Felics, Jennifer Furminger, Inga Hall, Helen Hallmark, Tanya Holyk, Sherry Irving, Angela Jardine, Patricia Johnson, Debra Jones, Kerry Koski, Jacqueline McDonell, Diana Melnick and Dianne Rock.

According to the Missing Women’s Task Force, there are still 39 women officially listed as missing from the DTES. “Every year the list continues to grow. We have to understand that violence against women is always unacceptable. These women are our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunties, grandmothers, and friends. Every life is precious and we must continue to work for justice for murdered and missing women,” states George.

This year, marches will also be held on the same day in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Sudbury, London, and Victoria. In Vancouver, a community of friends and family members led by women will move together through the streets of the Downtown Eastside, stopping at the sites where women have died, lay a red or yellow rose in remembrance, and perform spiritual ceremonies for healing.


10:30 AM: Press Session on Carnegie Centre Patio. Q&A with community members.
11:15 AM: Media accreditation for Carnegie Centre Theatre program (please note media is not guaranteed space, arrive early and line up along the back as the Theatre fills up by 11:45). There will be no Q&A.
12:00 PM: Carnegie Centre Theatre Program: Family members speak in remembrance of their daughters
1:00 PM: March begins with a circle at Main & Hastings (media are asked not to film any of the spiritual ceremonies that are part of the march)
2:00 PM: Community activists speak outside the Vancouver Police Station
2:30 PM: Healing Circle at Oppenheimer Park, Candles of Remembrance

MEDIA CONTACT Marlene George at (604) 665-3005

Missing: equal coverage for Aboriginals

Thursday, 05 February 2009

By Wanda O'Brien

There is something lacking in the treatment of missing aboriginal women in Canada.

The suffering of an aboriginal family searching for a missing relative does not go unnoticed by the public, but it does not receive the same attention as when a non-aboriginal woman is involved. This leaves some aboriginal families struggling through a web of unfamiliar bureaucracy, highlighting the cultural disparities that exist in Canada.

In April 2007, Kristen Gilchrist’s University of Ottawa’s masters thesis found that there is a “blackout” or shortage of coverage for missing and murdered aboriginal women in the media. Her research focused on the cases of six Canadian women who disappeared between 2003 and 2005. Gilchrist compared the media coverage of Daleen Bosse, 26, Melanie Geddes, 24, and Amber Redman, 19 – three aboriginal women from Saskatchewan – to Ardeth Wood, 27, Alicia Ross, 25, and Jennifer Teague, 18 – three white women from Ontario.

All six women, Gilchrist points out, went missing near the two largest cities in their home town (Saskatoon and Regina in Saskatchewan and Toronto and Ottawa in Ontario). All six women were in school or working. All six women had close connections with family and friends. None of the six were known to be connected to the sex industry or believed to be runaways. All six women were murdered.

Convictions have been laid in the case of the three white women. None have been made in the three cases involving aboriginal women. There are suspects in custody in relation to Boss and Redman, but no arrests have been made in Geddes’ case.

Gilchrist analyzed the print media coverage from the time of each disappearance to November 30, 2005. She found 968 articles relating to the cases of the white women and 172 articles about the aboriginal women.

In national print news coverage, 137 articles were published between the Globe and Mail and the National Post about the white women. Comparatively, only five articles were published in the Globe and Mail about the aboriginal women and no articles were found in the National Post.

It’s clear that there is a stark difference in the coverage of the missing women.

This is not to say there was no solid reporting done on the cases of the three aboriginal women highlighted in Gilchrist’s research, or in the disappearances of aboriginal women since. And this does not diminish the reporting done for the three white victims, or other non-aboriginal women that have gone missing. Rather, it points out a void in Canadian society. The concept of “the other,” as Gilchrist illustrates, exists in the true north, strong and free.

A break-down in communication is evident when exploring the frustrations some aboriginal families have experienced.

Laurie Odjick’s daughter Maisy, 16, and friend Shannon Alexander, 17, went missing from the Kitigan Zibi reserve, north of Ottawa, on Sep. 6, 2008. Odjick felt she had to struggle for swift police action and media attention on the disappearances. The teens are still missing.

Bridget Tolley lives in Kitigan Zibi. Her mother, Gladys Tolley, died in a collision with a Surete du Quebec police car in October 2001. Tolley did not know the case was closed until she read about it in a newspaper 13 months after her mother's death. She has been trying to get a public inquiry into the case since July 2004.

Sue Martin lives in Ottawa. Her daughter, Terrie Ann Martin-Dauphinaif, was killed in April 2002 in Calgary. The case remains unsolved. Martin says she no longer has faith in the police system.

Jennifer Lord is trying to build trust between aboriginal families and police. Lord is a community co-ordinator for Sisters in Spirit, a research, education and policy initiative under the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

In a discussion in February 2007, one of the major themes brought up with aboriginal families with missing or murdered relatives was the process for investigating their cases. Lord says mistrust of the police in certain areas exists amongst some aboriginal families, and families were unaware of their rights. Since then, Lord created a tool kit to help families steer their way through the process.

The tool kit, called Navigating the Missing Person’s Process, is intended for officers to give to families so they know what their rights are. It lets the family know they can ask to speak to an officer in charge, or ask what more they can do in the search for their missing loved-one.

Aboriginal, white, black, Indian, Hispanic, Chinese, whatever – a person’s cultural or racial identity should not factor into the prominence of media coverage, how a police investigation is conducted or the level a family understands an investigation.

Unfortunately, a strong awareness of biases and prejudices in our society, and a will to change them, is still missing.

Last update : 06-02-2009 08:29

Missing: equal coverage for Aboriginals
Centretown News Online - Friday, 06 February 2009

Thursday, February 5

Pickton's brother and sister sue B.C. government over Port Coquitlam farm

By Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun

February 5, 2009

METRO VANCOUVER -- Robert (Willie) Pickton may have killed six women, but his brother and sister want government compensation for plants and fish killed by the RCMP during their exhaustive investigation.

The siblings of the convicted serial killer Robert have filed a suit against the B.C. government over the loss of use of their Port Coquitlam farm during the lengthy RCMP probe that unearthed body parts of dozens of women.

The suit by David Frances Pickton and Lynda Louise Wright was filed Feb. 2 in B.C. Supreme Court.

They claim that while investigators were collecting evidence in the largest serial killer case in Canadian history, "the RCMP disturbed, disrupted, killed and destroyed various plants, trees, groundcovers and other vegetation and the fish in the pond."

The brother and sister are seeking damages, costs and interest, though did not name any specific amount.

"The RCMP took and/or expropriated the properties and all chattels thereon, either permanently or temporarily, excluded the plaintiffs from their lawful rights to the use and enjoyment thereof, and have not paid full or compensation thereafter, including consequential and other damages," the writ says.

"The RCMP has caused damage to the properties and damage to the chattels belonging to the plaintiffs."

The suit said police also "demolished, removed, destroyed or rendered uninhabitable or useless various buildings, residences, infrastructure, motor vehicles, stores, equipments and machinery on the properties."

The Pickton siblings named not only the police actions on the farm at 953 Dominion Road in Port Coquitlam, but also a property where David Pickton lived at 2552 Burns Road.

They claim the RCMP disturbed the topsoil and "caused contamination to various parts of the properties."

"As a result of the said actions by the RCMP, the properties are presently useless and the plaintiffs have suffered significant loss and damage, including loss of chattels and property, costs of engineering and environment reports and rehabilitation," the suit says.

The siblings complain that even though they have not had access to the property since Feb. 2, 2002, they still had to pay all the expenses for it.
read Real Scoop at the

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Pickton's brother and sister sue B.C. government - The Vancouver Sun.

Tuesday, February 3



In January 1991 a woman was murdered on Powell Street in Vancouver. Her name is not spoken today out of respect for the wishes of her family. This woman’s murder in particular was the catalyst that moved women into action. Out of this sense of hopelessness came an annual march on Valentine's Day to express compassion, community, and caring for all women in the DTES.

Eighteen years later, the march continues with an increasing list of names of murdered and missing women in the DTES. Let their lives,struggles, and stories not be forgotten as we work towards justice. This year, Feb 14th Women's Memorial Marches are being organized in Victoria, Winnipeg, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.









Sunday, February 1

Introducing Operation Phoenix

By Ros Guggi, Deputy Editor
February 1, 2009 10:00 AM


Beginning tomorrow, three of B.C.'s biggest media outlets will work together to focus attention on the issues of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

This neighbourhood has the largest concentration of urban poverty and addiction most of us have ever seen. And it is in our backyard.

From now until the 2010 Olympics, The Province, Global BC and CKNW will shine a light on the issues that have left some of our poorest citizens living in deplorable conditions.

Our project is called Operation Phoenix. We want to help renew hope in the Downtown Eastside.

We will celebrate things that are working and examine those that aren't. We will be asking uncomfortable questions. Good intentions alone aren't enough.

We aim to provoke debate about what could be done to improve people's lives. We hope to engage the Downtown Eastside community and people all through the Lower Mainland in seeking solutions.

The project has the enthusiastic support of Province Editor-in-Chief Wayne Moriarty and Pacific Newspaper Group Publisher and President Kevin Bent.

We know this won't be easy.

Former Vancouver mayors Philip Owen, Larry Campbell and Sam Sullivan tried to change things. Newly elected Mayor Gregor Robertson has promised to end homelessness by 2015.

Many well-meaning people have tried to improve conditions in the Downtown Eastside and a huge amount of money has been spent. Yet problems persist.

This is everyone's issue. There are many in the province — and the country — who have brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, nieces and nephews in this neighbourhood.

There are signs of hope. There is a real appetite for change from politicians, citizens and business leaders. The provincial government announced Friday it has purchased more of the existing housing in the neighbourhoods.

Behind those on the streets is a vibrant community working to improve things.

We don't have any magical answers. But we invite you to help us try to make this a better place for the most vulnerable members of our society, many of them so disabled and addicted that they simply cannot work. The project will offer those who want to help a way to connect with agencies that need goods or volunteers.

Operation Phoenix was inspired in part by a comment made by Judge Thomas Gove during a media tour last fall, when his new community court was being launched in the neighbourhood.

We asked what success would look like.

"Success," he said, "will be when one can walk down the street, walk down Hastings from Gore to the Cenotaph, and not feel like weeping at what a tragedy this is."

Together we can turn around this tragedy on our streets. Truly making a difference there could be our greatest Olympic legacy.

— Ros Guggi, Province Deputy Editor and Project Leader

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