Missing fish investigated better than missing women

Father of Pickton victim unimpressed with Oppal inquiry

The Campbell River father of Marnie Frey, one of Robert Pickton’s victims, is upset that he lives in a province that values missing fish more than the lives of missing and murdered women.

Rick Frey says key witnesses, such as workers from the Pickton farm, that should have testified at the Wally Oppal inquiry were not called in order to keep costs down.

“But, there was no shortage of police witnesses,” he says.

He says the recent Cohen Commission to investigate the disappearance of the Fraser River sockeye salmon lasted three years and cost $26 million while Oppal’s investigation lasted half that time and cost $10 million. Oppal delivered his 1,450-page report in Vancouver on Monday.

“Are we saying fish are more important than murdered women? Give me a break,” Frey says.

Marnie’s father also believes the inquiry should have “captured” the cases of another 20 missing women dating back to 1983 rather than having the investigation timeline start in 1997.

However, Frey says he is “more than pleased that Oppal came down on the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP.”

The former B.C. attorney general has recommended the establishment of a regional police force in Greater Vancouver.

He identified “systemic bias” in the police response to the women that went missing from the Downtown Eastside. Marnie, who had a daughter Brittney in 1992, is reported to have been exposed to drugs through an Asian gang in Campbell River and to have drifted away from home to the streets of Vancouver.

In his victim impact statement Frey said: “Marnie disappeared in 1997 and we didn’t find out for sure what had happened to her until well into 2002. All of this waiting has taken a terrible toll on our mental well-being.

“Brittney, whom we adopted in 1993, has had to endure cruel taunts at school, such as on hotdog day she was asked what it’s like to eat her mother.

“I was asked on one occasion to pick her up from school because three girls were picking on her about her mother. She had to leave school as a result of this. Having to deal with Brittney’s school in relation to their handling of this bullying was very difficult for me and my wife, Lynn.

“Our family will forever be tormented by visions of what happened to our loved one, our daughter …an innocent woman caught in the wrong time and place.”

Frey says there’s been one problem after another starting with victims’ services back in 2002 which “alienated the families who were not allowed to talk to one another.”

Marnie’s mother Lynn Frey says: “This inquiry didn’t give us any ending to the chapter of the book we have been reading for 15 years. We are still not any further ahead today than we were when I first started looking for Marnie in 1997.

“We need a national inquiry so we can get to the bottom of all the crap that has never been told.”

Rick Frey has little faith that Wally Oppal’s recommendations will result in real change.

“You have to have a government that’s willing to go the distance to make these changes,” he says.

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