Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond released the following statement today following the resignation of the Honourable Steven Point as chair of the advisory committee on the safety and security of vulnerable women:
"I have accepted the resignation of the Honourable Steven Point from his position as chair of the advisory committee on the safety and security of vulnerable women. His last day will be May 30, 2013.
"I appreciate the decisions of the four families of missing women who have chosen to pursue civil suits related to the Pickton case, but I am disappointed that the no doubt unintended consequences of these claims have led Mr. Point to conclude that he must step aside.
"When matters proceed to court, the litigation process takes precedence over all other related processes. The plaintiffs have put Mr. Point on notice that, in his role as chair of the advisory committee, his comments and remarks may well become evidence in the course of the litigation. This would have placed an impossible burden on Mr. Point to avoid making statements that could be misinterpreted or be used in or influence the course of litigation.
"As well, this pursuit of litigation will impact the government's current process in responding to the recommendations from the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (MWCI), and we now have to analyze how we will continue to move forward while the court case is underway.
"That said, I can tell you that our government remains committed to creating a legacy of safety and security for vulnerable women. We have always known that necessary changes won't be easy and they wouldn't happen overnight.
"I want to thank Mr. Point for the work he has done to date as a champion for implementation of the MWCI recommendations, and I know the foundation he has built in the past five months will serve us well as we move forward within the constraints of our ability due to these active civil suits.
"As Attorney General and due to the legal sensitivities of this situation, I am unable to make any further comment at this time."
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
See backgrounder attached for the text of the Hon. Steven Point's resignation letter.
BACKGROUNDERText of the letter from the Honourable Steven Point to Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond
It is with regret that I find it necessary to advise you that litigation has been commenced by certain family members of the victims of Pickton, and I have been served with documents that have put me on notice regarding this litigation.
As a consequence of this development I have concluded that it is impossible to continue in my role as special advisor to government in relation to the recommendations by Commissioner Oppal in his report on Murdered and Missing Women.
I have consulted with the Ministry of Justice who have agreed that in light of the current litigation process it is not possible to proceed further and therefore we have jointly reached the conclusion that I must resign and I have done so, effective May 30, 2013.
I sincerely regret the events that have necessitated my reaching this decision however once litigation has been chosen, I cannot see a path that allows me to fulfil the role that I was asked to undertake.