NEWS RELEASE · 18th May 2010
Internal B.C. Liberal government disarray threatens to derail the Highway of Tears program, say the New Democrats.
Funding for the Prince George-based office runs out today, in part because of the revolving door at the Solicitor General’s office.
“The Highway of Tears office was making do on short-term funding, but the debacle involving Kash Heed has meant the work to renew the funding fell by the wayside,” said North Coast MLA Gary Coons.
“This is the second time that funding for the Highway of Tears program has been in jeopardy because the B.C. Liberals can’t get their act together. Once more, it is the local community that is being asked to pay the price as the B.C. Liberals scramble to manage crises instead of planning effectively.”
Over the past four decades, nearly 20 women have gone missing along the highway between Prince George and Prince Rupert. The majority of those women have been members of local First Nations. In 2006, the Highway of Tears Report made 33 recommendations, which included the implementation of an ongoing Highway of Tears program.
“It’s appalling that the B.C. Liberals’ internal chaos is getting in the way of this important work,” said Bob Simpson, the opposition critic for aboriginal relations. “Instead of advancing the work, finding out what happened to those women and taking steps to make the highway safer, the program has stalled.
“The B.C. Liberals need to commit without delay to fully funding the Highway of Tears program as a first step.”
Solicitor General Mike De Jong has refused to commit to continue funding the program.
“The work is not done,” said Coons. “The B.C. Liberals simply cannot let this important program fall off the table.”
Simpson supports First Nation leadership calls for a judicial inquiry into the disappearances along Highway 16.
“The victims’ families deserve to know what happened to their loved ones,” said Simpson. “And an inquiry would go a long way toward ensuring that more of their daughters don’t go missing along the Highway of Tears.”
A question or two.
Comment by James Ippel on 21st May 2010
What exactly do the people working out of the "Highway of Tears" office do? Are they trying to be Law Enforcement Officers and try and second guess the work being done by the RCMP, or are they there to critisize at every opportunity?
For many years I was involved in trying to solve the disappearance of the missing women on a voluntary basis. The public has absolutlely no concept of how much time is being dedicated to the investigation of the missing women by the RCMP. It is very easy for Mr. Simpson to critisize the Gov't on this issue when he probably was a gleam in his fathers eye when this first started. Further to that, I listened to question period the other day, and my interpretation was that Mike
deJong committed money to the Highway of Tears office.
Now, how can this ongoing problem of missing women be solved????? It is very simpe, quit Hitchhiking!!!!!!!!!!!!! How often do you see young ladies standing on the edge of the Hiway, showing a lot of leg and cleavage, with a thumb out, asking for a ride. The signs that have be placed by caring people have no effect on these individuals, they feel they are invincable. There is always someone out there willing to take advantage of the situation.
Parents, protect your children, stop the Hitchhiking, and adult women, avoid accepting rides from strangers. If necessary to travel, try and arrange safe travel, or wait until you can.