More bad news for Vancouver Victims.

I think it’s time all Canadian victims rally to the aid of our friends in B.C. Anyone who is in favor of lending support, say “aye” in the comment section; I will pass the info along to Steve Sullivan at the Canadian Resource Center, and maybe we can network to bring these folks some well deserved attention and recognition.

Liberals ignore pain of crime victims’ families: With victim services axed, grieving families are all alone navigating system

The Vancouver Province
Wed 09 Mar 2005
Page: A10 Section: News
Byline: Joey Thompson
Column: Joey Thompson
Source: The Province

If there is an election issue on which B.C. citizens might gauge the Liberals’ integrity, it is the governing party’s insensitivity and indifference to victims of crime.

It used to be that families who lost a son, daughter, mother or father to a drunk driver, violent offender or sexual deviant could turn to one of 70 counsellors working alongside our provincial prosecutors.

But in the drive to shave bucks from budgets four years ago, the B.C. Liberals axed the Crown-based victim services — leaving grief-stricken relatives of the murdered and wounded scrambling for information, unable to lean on the wisdom of a comforting professional during a complex, frustrating process.

When the Missing Women Task Force trial gets under way, likely next year, will court-savvy counsellors be on hand to comfort those forced to sit through evidence detailing how their sister or daughter was allegedly slaughtered at Robert Pickton’s Port Coquitlam pig farm?

Unlikely, unless Solicitor-General Rich Coleman opts to reinstate this crucial service in B.C., home of Canada’s second-highest crime rate. And that the former cop isn’t about to do.

Steve Sullivan, head of the Ottawa-based Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, recently asked the cabinet minister and MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove to take a close look at what services are accessible to the families and what these grief-stricken relatives will need in the way of information, counselling, travel assistance and accommodation during the extended trial.

Coleman’s reply was to assure Sullivan the ministry was doing its bit to provide the families of the missing women with ongoing support, information and assistance.

This smacks of the same arrogance that propelled the Liberals to ignore the wishes of 70 families of murder victims interviewed for a 2002 report funded by the solicitor-general’s ministry, titled No End to the Pain.

In rating the quality and quantity of crime victims’ services, policies and legislation, they said B.C. sucked.

Relatives participating in the survey by the Victoria-based Focus Consultants called the B.C. government “hypocritical in extolling victims’ rights but not providing sufficient resources or funding to support them.” Sound familiar?

Indeed, the callous manner in which Victoria has treated crime victims dovetails with our attorney-general’s dismissive attitude toward their victim-impact statements. Geoff Plant refuses to grant citizens in this province the right to read a VIS in person in a court, even though the federal Criminal Code says they have a right to do so.

If we need more proof of the Liberal government’s disregard for crime victims, it is in the fact it has ignored every one of the report’s 73 proposals for change, including a follow-up conference on victims’ rights.

The B.C. Liberals have chosen to do nothing to ease the plight and pain of victims of crime. They should be held accountable for this. Come election time, favour those candidates who support the reinstatement of Crown victim services. The record shows they readily spend a fortune defending the monsters, while investing nothing to protect the rights of their hapless victims.

Category:

Leave a Reply