Wednesday, September 29, 2010

yeah, pick that guy to head the investigation.

partly good news, partly bad: an attorney general has been assigned the case of reviewing the investigations into the missing women of vancouver--the women connected to robert pickton. the inquiry is also going to take a look at the decision of crown prosecutors to "stay a charge of attempted murder against robert pickton, a decision that some say enabled [him] to continue killing women for four more years."

that's the good news. the police investigations and actions should be reviewed, because they allowed women to be murdered right under their noses simply because the women were disposable.

now, the bad news. the attorney general who will do the reviews is wally oppal.

don't know who wally oppal is? well, if you follow charter law or any news you might recognize his name as the judge who went after polygamy in B.C--went after polygamy, and failed big time.

there are a lot of other reasons to doubt this appointment, which the globe and mail does a good job of covering.

my main problem with oppal isn't that he's too close to the liberal government. my main problem with his appointment is that this is a major case that has to do with women's rights in canada, with laws that affect women, with the bias and stereotypes that made this case a catastrophe because people's/police's apathy didn't feel these women were important enough to find(or, crucial tips that were ignored by the police because of their disdain for the people bringing the tips in).

to me, a man who went after polygamy single-mindedly isn't capable of really understanding the subtle and complex ways that laws affect women's lives.

oppal has voiced his personal opinion on polygamy over the years, stating that he disagrees with using freedom of religion to defend the practice.

and even though TWO different special prosecutors recommended that the polygamy charges that oppal endorsed not go ahead, he appointed a THIRD special prosecutor who finally agreed with him and went ahead with the charges.

the charges were eventually dropped by another judge, who said oppal did not have "the jurisdiction to appoint a second special prosecutor .... after the first recommended against charging the two men."

so here you have an attorney general who went through special prosecutor after special prosecutor until he got the results that he personally wanted. doesn't seem very much like blind justice to me.

this isn't the guy i want taking care of a case that has to do with systemic discrimination against marginalized peoples, people accountability, and GOVERNMENT accountability.

it's already a disappointing inquiry, considering "The Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter had hoped that the terms of reference would go beyond the police investigation to include a look into the systemic discrimination that women experience in dealing with the criminal justice system and the role of mayors who were head of the Vancouver police board during the investigation.

However, the government opted to have broader issues related to the lives of the missing and murdered women reviewed at a national conference in B.C., rather than during an inquiry. “It’s after all a national issue and a national challenge.”

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