Statement by Mayor Sullivan in response to yesterday’s verdict

The following is a statement from Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan in response to yesterday’s verdict:

“Yesterday, on the way home from an International Drug Policy Conference in New Orleans, I received word of the verdict in the case of six of the women that went missing from the Downtown Eastside.
My first thought upon hearing the verdict was for the families of the victims — not just these six but all the others waiting for justice. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

I also want to recognize the men and women who served on the jury in this case. The task was difficult and I can only imagine the haunting impact they will experience as a result of their service.

The circumstances that led us to yesterday’s verdict should give all of us pause. We owe it to the victims, their families and ourselves to do everything we can to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

As elected officials, we must rededicate ourselves to helping those who are the most vulnerable in our society. The problem of drug addiction and mental health in the Downtown Eastside is a national issue. Partnership is required between all levels of government and local authorities to deliver hope to citizens that need it the most.

The solutions should include community based prevention, treatment and health promotion partnerships, substitution treatment for those with the most chronic addictions, improved policing and more access to supportive housing for persons with drug addiction and mental health challenges.

In the coming weeks, I will be inviting federal, provincial and regional officials together to discuss ways we can accelerate healthy solutions for people suffering from drug addiction in the Downtown Eastside – particularly women in the survival sex trade.

To this end, I also want to reaffirm my support for the development of 12 new supportive housing sites in the City of Vancouver. A special meeting of City Council will be held this week to advance the planning for this compassionate solution to many of our social challenges.”