Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me say that I am very pleased to be following the NDP member for Churchill, after her very powerful and passionate speech on this issue. I know that this is an issue that we all care very deeply about.
I want to begin my remarks by reflecting on a very important event that is going to take place in the downtown east side at Main and Hastings today. Today will be the 22nd annual women's memorial march that is taking place in that community.
I attended the first march in 1991 when I was still a city councillor and it was really the first time that the community came together in an outpouring and recognition of the terrible violence that was taking place in the community where aboriginal women were missing and many were murdered or presumed murdered. Many were sex workers.
I remember the march along Powell Street and we began next to a dumpster where earlier the body parts of a murdered woman had been found. I will not use her name because her family has asked that her name not be used. I remember as we walked down Powell Street, Dundas Street, down to Main and Hastings to the Carnegie Centre. There was a smudge ceremony and her family was there. It was the first time in the downtown east side that there was a public coming together and recognition of what was taking place in that community.
That was in 1991. Many women had been disappearing prior to that. It was at that point that the community started calling for a public inquiry in B.C. into the missing and murdered women because we all knew and believed that there was a serial killer that was likely responsible. Here we are two decades later and of course much has happened. There have been criminal trials, the largest mass murder trial in Canada, the Picton trial. We have had the Oppal Commission. We have had the United Nations begin its own inquiry into the status and the missing and murdered aboriginal women.