CANADIAN PRESS NOVEMBER 6, 2013
VANCOUVER – Nearly a year after a retired judge called for sweeping change to prevent another Robert Pickton, the British Columbia government has yet to implement the vast majority of his recommendations, with work started on only half of them.
The province has released a report this week outlining its progress in the 11 months since commissioner Wally Oppal issued dozens of recommendations designed to address the failures that allowed Pickton to target sex workers in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
The government says work has started on 28 of Oppal’s recommendations, three of which are considered fully implemented. Half of Oppal’s recommendations that relate to the provincial government are not even addressed in this week’s status update.
But Oppal said he remains hopeful progress, though slow, will continue.
“I’m as impatient as anyone else, having lived with this for a better part of three years, but I’m trying to change a system that’s been in operation for a long time,” he said in an interview.
“Change, if it’s going to be meaningful and significant change, doesn’t come as quickly as some of us would like to see. I’d like to see it being done quicker, but on the other hand, you have to be realistic about it.”
Oppal’s December 2012 report identified a litany of “systemic” police failures that allowed Pickton to remain at large for so long, while also concluding that if his victims weren’t poor, drug-addicted women from the Downtown Eastside, more would have been done to save them.
He issued 65 recommendations, from additional services for vulnerable women to significant changes to the structure of policing in the province. Of those, 56 fell within the jurisdiction of the provincial government.