EDITORIAL: Time for action on missing and murdered women

Solutions need to be found to this problem now, not five years from now after another inquiry reports back

On Jan. 4, Roxanne Louie went missing in Penticton. While we hoped she would soon return to her family, it was not to be.

Her alleged murder brings intensity and poignancy to the release of a report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights calling for a national inquiry after it spent two years of studying the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in B.C.

According to the commission’s report, “disappearances and murders of indigenous women in Canada are part of a broader pattern of violence and discrimination against indigenous women in Canada.”

Along with calling for a national inquiry the report calls for the government to address the underlying factors that exacerbate the violence against indigenous women. We needed two years of study to determine this? Year after year of women going missing in Vancouver before Willy Picton was caught or years of women disappearing or murdered along the Highway of Tears wasn’t enough to get the message across that there is a problem?

Aboriginal women are seven times more likely to be murdered than non-aboriginal women. That’s not acceptable, nor are ongoing delays in addressing it.

Senior governments have dodged taking steps to deal with the issue of murdered and missing aboriginal women. A national inquiry isn’t going to solve anything though, it is part of a process that should include positive and immediate changes to our police, social and justice systems.

Solutions need to be found to this problem now, not five years from now after another inquiry reports back and governments slowly implement recommendations. It’s time now to apply common sense to this systemic crisis and not watch more aboriginal women fall victim while committees create more reports.

— Penticton Western News