Yesterday former BC Attorney General Wally Oppal opened the BC commission of inquiry established to investigate how so many aboriginal women could go missing off of Vancouver streets over so many years with so little effort to find out why. In doing so, he posed a troubling question:
We must ask ourselves: ‘Is it acceptable that we allowed our most vulnerable to disappear, to be murdered?’ The question is upsetting. It challenges our fundamental values. We say that each one of us is equal, each one of us is worthy of the same protection from violence. But is it true?
Last month, University of Victoria professor (and Informed Opinions grad) Catherine Morris and her colleague, Gail Davidson of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, indirectly answered the Commissioner’s question on the op ed pages of the Vancouver Sun. Their commentary took the BC Government to task for its refusal to provide legal representation to groups granted standing at the inquiry. The piece offered clear insights into a complicated issue, reinforcing some fundamental truths about equality and the lengths democratic societies must go to in order to earn the right to call themselves fair and just.