When the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry was established on September 27, 2010, many observers felt it might be a waste of time and money.  It concluded its work on November 22, 2012 when the Commissioner delivered his report recommending, among other things, that the “Provincial Government establish a compensation fund for the children of the missing and murdered women” and “a healing fund for the families of the missing and murdered women”.  At this point, more than eight months later, the funds have not been established and the children and families of the missing and murdered women have yet to receive a dime of compensation for the losses of their loved ones.  One could say they have been forsaken yet again by a government that does not care a whit about the disadvantaged and marginalized.

Some others were well funded by the government, however.  When the province’s Public Accounts for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 were released Tuesday, they revealed that Wally T Oppal (the Commissioner) received $405,000 for the fiscal year, making his total remuneration $839,535 for a little over two years’ work (including $324,267 for 2012 plus $110,268 for 2011).  All this presumably went into his personal pocket, as office, staffing and other resources were budgeted separately.

Commission Counsel Art Vertlieb Q.C. was paid $219,744 for the year ended March 31, 2013.  When added to his payments for 2012 ($483,741) and 2011 ($197,171), he took home a total of $900,656 for his service to the inquiry.

Associate Commission Counsel Karey Brooks did much of the counsel work at the hearings.  She billed BC taxpayers $373,920 for the year ended March 31, 2013, through her law firm Janes Freedman Kyle Law Corporation.  With billings of $482,139 in 2012 and $95,571 in 2011, Ms. Brooks’ firm raked in $951,630 for the duration of the Commission’s mandate.

Mr. Vertlieb’s friend John Boddie, a former Vancouver police officer turned stock promoter who served as the Commission’s Executive Director, apparently received $268,352 for 2013 through billings rendered by his wife’s firm, Paula Boddie and Associates.  Mr. Boddie’s total haul was $668,665 (including $100,506 for 2011 and $299,807), which is not bad for a former beat cop.

When it’s added up, these four- Oppal, Vertlieb, Brooks and Boddie- were paid a total of $3,360,486.  That’s $3.3 million of taxpayers money for the services of just four people, which is a fraction of the total spent on the legions of police lawyers, other staff, experts, office administration, hearing room fees, court reporters etc.  On the other hand, the children and families of the fifty women who were murdered by Robert William Pickton and his associates while the police ignored the disappearances are still waiting for something tangible to come of the whole thing.