While Canadians naturally recoiled in horror when confronted by the recent news of widespread rape and murder in India, they would be well advised to look closer to home. The widespread violence against aboriginal women in B.C. is well documented and hardly a week goes by when more harrowing news is released to the media by various authorities.
The issue is complex but unlike the challenges facing women in distant countries, we can easily make a real difference here in B.C. Wally Oppal outlined one simple solution in his report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry: provide safe transportation between the small communities along B.C.’s Highway of Tears. While private, for-profit transportation options exist, the deep poverty endemic to these communities ensures there will always be women hitchhiking despite the danger.
Given the huge numbers of women that have gone missing along Highway 16, it’s absolutely crucial that the government provide safe and free transportation for these women. If white women in the suburbs were experiencing the same fate, Christy Clark’s government would move heaven and earth to stop it. But because they are aboriginal women, far from major populations, they seem expendable.
Oppal suggested an easy solution, but the government ignores it and women continue to disappear. Doesn’t that make the government culpable?