As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, Fucked Up are a brilliant band. Investigating what “Vivian Girls” was about led me to Henry Darger, so tonight, nearly bored to tears, missing out on end-of-term fun, I was listening to “Year of the Pig” and decided to read up about it. I didn’t really find a lot, actually, but I noticed that several people speculated that it was about the Robert Pickton murders. I was quite young when he was apprehended and I paid attention to the trial when it was in the news, but I never really sought out more information on it.
So naturally, I started to read about the case more in depth. And I got really, really upset.
The fact that this man murdered so many women (convicted of six counts of murder, accused of twenty counts of murder, suspected in even more) and he’s only been convicted of second degree murder makes me want to throw up. Second degree? Really? Yeah, okay.
Thinking it was a little odd that Robert Pickton could possibly be convicted of second degree murder given the nature of the crimes, I decided to do a search of what exactly constitutes first and second degree murder in Canada’s legal system. I’m afraid I cannot refer you to any governmental sources [I couldn’t find it] but this seems to be the general consensus:
“If you murder someone in a course of a sexual assault or forced confinement then the charge is also first degree and called constructive first degree murder. You may not have planned it and deliberated about it, but if in the course of a sexual assault, confinement or a kidnapping the victim ends up dying and you are responsible for their death, it is deemed to be first degree murder.
Second degree murder is defined as all other murder other than first degree murder. So, if you do not plan and you do not deliberate about it but you still intend to kill someone, that is second degree murder.” [From here].
I wonder if he would be still convicted of second degree murder if these women were the daughters or wives of affluent business men and politicians in Vancouver. I’m also wondering if there would have been more of an effort to find them when they went missing, years before their bodies were discovered. All of these nagging questions of mine.
What makes me even more upset that there are still at least twenty women whose deaths have not been properly dealt with. Some family members of these victims came forth to the media, claiming that the Crown told them that they weren’t going to pursue cases of the remaining twenty women.
I understand why they chose to go with second degree murder over first degree murder and why they limited it to six counts rather than twenty six. But that doesn’t exactly make me happy about it. The treatment of sex trade workers in this country, particularly aboriginal prostitutes, is absolutely infuriating. It disgusts me that people continue to use the services of sex trade workers, but there are no governmental institutions that ensure their safety or regulate their health. Obviously prostitution is not going away. I think it’s time that we accept this and start looking after these individuals, rather than dealing with the consequences of our apathy after the fact.
However, I realize this is a little late and I didn’t want this post to be entirely without optimism. My main purpose of writing this was to bring it to the attention of anyone who might stumble upon this that Fucked Up have released a cover of Band Aid’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas” as a benefit for various groups that defend the rights of Canadian Aboriginal women. Pretty hilarious and pretty awesome.
Some other musicians who have collaborated with Fucked Up on this project include members from Vampire Weekend, Hüsker Dü, Yo La Tengo, TV on the Radio, as well as GZA, David Cross, Kevin Drew, Tegan and Sara and Andrew W.K. [I apologize if I’m missing any others]. 100% of the proceeds are split between Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, DTES Power of Women Group and Sisters in Spirit.
You can read more about it at Fucked Up’s blog: Looking For Gold
And you can purchase it here.