Voices not heard – Fraser

Missing women's inquiry hears a lot from police, not so much from women

Systemic discrimination against First Nations women is alive and well at the missing women’s inquiry, says Scott Fraser.

The Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA slammed the inquiry this week as inherently unfair to aboriginal women.

“The women in the inquiry are being marginalized and sidelined,” he said. “They are perpetuating the same old pattern of discrimination that has happened forever.”

Fraser said the deck is stacked against the families of the murdered and missing women, many of whom were of aboriginal descent.

“The police have 24 high-powered lawyers and there are only one or two for all the aboriginal groups that were given standing in the inquiry,” Fraser said. “I don’t know of anyone who sees that as a fair process. The voices that should be heard are not being heard.”

The issue, he added, goes beyond that of legal representation.

“The families of the missing women have been asking for an extension of the time allotted for the inquiry,” he said. “So far we have just heard from police and government types. There have been no women’s voices and there are very few days left — and the police and government are still talking.”

The request for an extension, he said, was refused.

“Systemic discrimination is alive and well today under this government and that’s appalling,” he said.