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Date: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Time: Noon – 5: p.m.
Place: Vancouver Public Library Plaza, 350 West Georgia, Vancouver
VANCOUVER – As Wally Oppal, head of the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry puts the finishing touches on his final report to the provincial government, Vancouver sex workers and supporters are gathering at the Vancouver Public Library Plaza to stage, Honouring Truth, a symbolic public reading of the Independent Counsel’s report to the Inquiry. Commissioner Oppal’s final report is due October 31.
“We’re hosting this reading to deepen the public’s understanding of the extreme discrimination against sex workers, Aboriginal women and drug users that defines the Missing and Murdered Women’s case,” said Kerry Porth, spokesperson for the Honouring Truth Organizing Group.
Vancouver lawyer Jason Gratl was appointed Independent Counsel after the province refused to provide funding that would have allowed sex workers, First Nations and affected Downtown Eastside groups to participate on an equal footing with other Inquiry participants, including the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The title of the Counsel’s report, drawn from the Inquiry testimony of the female VPD police officer first assigned to Missing Women case, is telling. Wouldn’t Piss on Them if They Were on Fire: How Discrimination Against Sex Workers, Drug Users and Aboriginal Women Enabled A Serial Killer. Many sex workers consider the report a true depiction of their experience of the Missing and Murdered Women case.
“While we deplore the bigoted attitudes of many of the individuals named in Counsel’s report, it is our law enforcement agencies and our governments that repeatedly failed to protect the most demeaned and dismissed women in our community,” said Porth.
“Unless Commissioner Oppal’s recommendations speak to this deeply rooted institutional behaviour, our fear is that we will see this tragedy repeat itself.”
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Contact: Honouring Truth Organizing Group
Kerry Porth 604-780-2536