While many Canadians will be preoccupied with settling into their cottages, or campsites, on this long weekend, others will be lacing up their running shoes to walk in the memory of their loves ones -- women who have gone missing and are presumed murdered.
Members of my immediate family will be participating in walks from coast to coast. Some will be walking in St. Catharines/Niagara to remember my cousin Ashley Simpson who disappeared a year ago from her home in Salmon Arm. She is one of three women missing from the B.C. Interior towns of Salmon Arm and Enderby. Deanna Wertz and Caitlin Potts are also missing.
Her father, John Simpson, will join in the B.C. walk. The organizers of walk have put the emphasis on aboriginal women because the majority of the missing come from the First Nations communities. But they have also taken John into their fold. Grief has no ethnicity, after all.
The walk will cap off a frustrating time for John who dropped everything and set off to find his daughter.
He's spent the last two weeks scouring the creeks and bushes near Yankee Flats Road where both Ashley and Deanna were last seen. Sadly, John will leave the area after the walk, having failed in his quest to bring Ashley home.
The weather has been challenging, with flooding, and record rain fall so John has only had a few days to look for her. Luckily, the community has pitched in, offering help with food, lodging and money to keep John going. He's also been aided by drones which have enabled him to search in the most treacherous areas, places where humans have been unable to go -- until now.
Despite the strong support, John has also encountered unexpected road blocks. The federal government cut off the employment insurance which has kept John going since Ashley's disappearance. There is a provision in the legislation which allows short term cash for family members of the murdered and missing. Unfortunately, John had his EI disallowed because he left the province of Ontario to search for Ashley because he wouldn't be able to look for work during this time.
What a stupid, moronic, bean counting, box checking thing to do to a father who is going mad, sitting at home, unable to look for his daughter. So much for Canada's social safety net.
What a joke.