Public is critical of investigation

65 per cent want public inquiry into police action

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Andy Ivens
The Province

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The police investigation that led to charges against Robert "Willie" Pickton remains a sore point with British Columbians, according to a poll released yesterday.

Nearly seven out of 10 British Columbians polled earlier this month -- 69 per cent -- say Vancouver police and the RCMP did not do enough to investigate the disappearance of women from Vancouver's skid row.

Sixty-five per cent want a public inquiry into the investigation.

As well, 59 per cent of those polled by Angus Reid Strategies said prostitution should be legal.

Pickton is on trial for the murders of six drug-addicted prostitutes from the Downtown Eastside.

The Port Coquitlam hog butcher also faces murder charges involving another 20 women.

Libby Davies, the member of Parliament for Vancouver East, favours decriminalization as a way to cut down on the murders and serious assaults of street prostitutes.

Davies said the law banning communication in public to engage in prostitution "is not only not working, but is actually creating a very dangerous situation."

"It's such a serious issue in my riding and we have women who are dying -- it's got to be addressed.

"The [Pickton] trial has really raised people's awareness about what goes on in the sex trade and how dangerous it is," she said.

"I was very surprised and hopeful to see that there was such strong support for decriminalization."

Simon Fraser University professor of criminology John Lowman has studied Canada's prostitution laws since 1977 and is a strong advocate for change.

"Everything would be better if we changed the way that we deal with this," said Lowman.

"None of this prohibitionist stuff makes any sense apart from appeasing the self-righteous morality of those involved in peddling it."

He said prostitution is thriving on the Internet, referring to Craigslist, where a check of the website revealed nearly 7,000 postings by female "escorts" advertising sex for money since July 1.

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Angus Reid Strategies asked 1,030 British Columbians: Should there be a public inquiry into how the disappearance of women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside was investigated?

- 65 per cent agree.

- 27 per cent disagree.

- 8 per cent are not sure.

The responses by age group:


- 58 per cent agree.

- 29 per cent disagree.


- 62 per cent agree.

- 29 per cent disagree.

55 and older:

- 74 per cent agree.

- 23 per cent disagree.


Angus Reid Strategies asked 1,030 British Columbians: Do you think prostitution should be legal in B.C.?

- 59 per cent said yes (66 per cent of males, 51 per cent of females).

- 29 per cent said no (22 per cent of males, 35 per cent of females).

- 13 per cent said not sure (11 per cent of males, 14 per cent of females).

 The Vancouver Province 2007



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