Process Management Directive #1

  1. The Terms of Reference of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry designate this Commission as a hearing and study commission whose work was to be concluded by December 31, 2011, a deadline which has been extended to June 30th, 2012.
  2. As Commissioner, my responsibilities include determining the facts in relation to the missing women investigations and the decision of the Criminal Justice Branch to stay the 1997 charges against Robert Pickton as well as providing recommendations with a view to ensuring that what happened will not happen again.
  3. I am to discharge these responsibilities based on what is set out in the Public Inquiry Act. This legislation provides that the Commission:

    a) has the power to control its own processes and may make directives respecting practice and procedure to facilitate the just and timely fulfillment of its duties; and

    b) as a hearing and study commission, may engage in any activity necessary to effectively and efficiently fulfill the duties of the commission

  4. To fulfill my mandate efficiently, effectively and in a timely way, I will be issuing Process Directives which will set out procedural steps I consider necessary to fulfill my responsibilities. This is the first Directive.
  5. In respect of cross examination of the witnesses under oath the procedure will be as follows:

    a) After the witness is led in direct evidence, reasonable time limits will be imposed oncross examination, which will only be extended with leave.

    b) Counsel will not duplicate ground covered in prior cross examination.

    c) Counsel will not ask questions that are inappropriately intrusive and disrespectful to the witnesses having regard to the purpose and nature of their evidence.

    d) I may direct Commission Counsel as to the order in which cross examination is to be conducted.

  6. I am continuing to develop the manner in which I intend to fulfill my mandate. This will include consideration of the information that will enable me to develop recommendation and the most efficient, effective and inclusive processes through which to do so. Some such processes have already been undertaken. As set out in detail in my status reports, the Commission has held pre‐hearing conferences and northern community forums. Further Policy Forums are scheduled this Spring.
  7. This Commission has been established as a result of tragic events that have caused much pain to so many. To that extent we have already fulfilled part of our mandate by giving an opportunity to hear the voices of persons who have not previously been heard. In my view, it is an important part of our work to listen to the impact these crimes have had on the families, on the community, and on our province. We are grateful to the many families who have come forward and provided assistance to the Inquiry. No meaningful reform can take place without their information and advice. As well, deepening our understanding of these past events and the circumstances around their occurrence provides a foundation from which to make recommendations that will speak to the future. These recommendations will cover a range of topics including: the role of institutions and the responsibilities and conduct of those working within them as it relates to the victims, their families and the community at large.
  8. This is a public inquiry and not a trial. It is my job to protect the integrity of the process and ensure this Commission does not become stymied through court like procedures. I have in the past been critical of the somewhat cumbersome nature of our court process which at times becomes rule bound and laborious. To be sure, one of the intentions of the new Public Inquiry Act was to create flexible processes that allow inquiries to search for the truth in an efficient, effective and timely manner.
  9. I expect all those involved in this Commission will assist me in managing these proceedings efficiently and effectively consistent with the public purpose I am mandated to discharge and in service of the public interest. Commission Counsel is available to meet with any of the participants with respect to this Directive, and to answer any questions that any interested party or the media may have in relation to this or the overall work of the Commission.