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Opinion  

Don't let her death be in vain

The tragic death of Roxanne Louie in the South Okanagan only adds urgency to the call for a national action plan on murdered and missing aboriginal women across Canada.

Louie’s is the latest name on a shameful list.

The release Monday of a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights showed British Columbia sadly accounts for 28 per cent of all murdered and missing native women in Canada. But that’s not all.

First Nations account for just 4.3 per cent of Canada’s population, yet 17 per cent of women murdered during the past 30 years were aboriginal. Also, native women are seven times more likely to be murdered than non-natives. 

Not only are First Nations vastly overrepresented as victims of crime, until now it seems, few people cared. Witness the years of bumbling before police closed the net on Lower Mainland serial killer Willy Pickton; the ongoing cries for help along Northern B.C.’s “Highway of Tears.”

Forget about an inquiry. What’s done is done, tragic as it may be. We don’t need more paperwork recounting statistics we already know.

Focus instead on a national plan to stop this from happening.

That means addressing the causes of aboriginal alienation and poverty; more resources for supportive housing, addiction programs and social programs.

Giving the marginalized a hand up lifts us all in the process.

And reducing the causes of violence not only saves lives, it saves money in police, court and counselling costs.

The women in the report are not just statistics; they were real people with real families and loved ones.

Action must be taken so this tragic legacy does not continue.

In Louie’s memory, let’s end the cycle.

— News Director Jon Manchester

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