Stars to sing of fury over missing women

Suzanne Fournier
The Province

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Canadian music stars Nellie Furtado and Sarah McLachlan have been asked to join other big names in a major fundraising music and video tribute to the missing women of the Downtown Eastside, launched by local musician Wyckham Porteous.

Wychkham Porteous

Meanwhile, some of the families of the missing women will announce later this week they have set up a bank account in honour of the 54 missing women.

They will demand that B.C. Solicitor-General Rich Coleman convene a full public inquiry into the Vancouver police's alleged failure to investigate the fate of the women who have gone missing from the Downtown Eastside since 1983.

Boosted by big names, a website, a CD, DVD and video, the bed-tracks of the song, called "A Buried Heart," were recorded April 18 in the largest gathering of Vancouver musicians to ever sing one song in a studio.

(Sarah McLachlan)
Rick Ernest, The Province

A major media release is planned for late June.

Vancouver blues-rocker Colin James, Blue Rodeo, Gord Downey of the Tragically Hip, John Wozniak of Marcy's Playground and the Be Good Tanyas have already pledged their musical aid in a fundraising bid that is being compared to the legendary "We Are The World," a song, that raised $65 million for African famine relief in the 1980s.

Porteous, dubbed a Canadian Tom Waits or Boz Scaggs, says he was moved to launch "A Buried Heart" by the fury and sadness he felt while watching media reports about the missing women and the murder charges filed against a Port Coquitlam pig farm owner.

"It offended me to keep hearing about this pig farm because these women had no dignity when they were alive, no one looked for them when they went missing and then to have their final resting-place called a pig farm, it just made me angry and determined to do something," said Porteous, who promptly wrote "A Buried Heart" with musicians Gary Durban and John Ellis.

"The song will be a moving tribute and will allow all of us who feel compassion for these women to express it in a positive way."

Nellie Furtado and Sarah McLachlan have been asked to join other singers on 'A Buried Heart,' which will raise funds for a treatment and recovery home in the Downtown Eastside.

Southam Photo

Porteous said all proceeds from the multi-media release will go to the Via Nova Foundation to establish a residential treatment and recovery home in the Downtown Eastside.

"It will be a permanent memorial to the missing women and it will also help women who are like those who went missing to get free of the drug addiction that got them down there and placed them in danger," said Porteous.

Via Nova Foundation spokeswoman Elaine Allan noted: "We have been trying to get the ear of the city for over three years and now, since this project started, they are calling us to see how they can help."

Val Hughes, whose sister Kerry Koski went missing in January 1999, said the Missing Women's Trust Fund has been set up at the Bank of Montreal, under account number 2712-1055040, with the intention of setting up a "rapid opiate detoxification centre in the Downtown Eastside."

The goals of the two fundraising efforts sound similar but are so far entirely separate, said Hughes. "The musicians did not consult us before they launched their effort so we had no idea what they were fundraising for."

Hughes said she supports the current Vancouver police-RCMP Missing Women's Joint Task Force, "but like all the family members, I feel molten rage when it comes to the Vancouver city police.

"Their view was it didn't matter if a serial killer was at work, as long as it was confined to one geographical area where the women were expendable people no one cared about. They told us our loved ones were just out partying. We want a full public inquiry, not to interfere with the criminal prosecution but to get answers."

Robert "Willie" Pickton, 50, who appears in Port Coquitlam provincial court today, is facing six first-degree murder counts in the deaths of Mona Wilson, Sereena Abotsway, Heather Bottomley, Diane Rock, Jacquilene McDonell and Angela Joesbury.

 Copyright  2002 The Province

Courtesy of The Province 



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Updated: August 21, 2016