VANCOUVER — The head of a sweeping public inquiry into the Robert Pickton investigation wants to give those most hurt by the disappearances a greater voice during upcoming hearings.
On Thursday, Wally Oppal released a status report asking the provincial government to expand the inquiry to include a study commission.
“As a result of concerns expressed by the community … I am recommending that the lieutenant governor in council grant the commission the powers of a joint study and hearing commission,” the report said.
In an interview, Oppal said the response to the inquiry from those who have lost loved ones has been “overwhelming.”
“We want to make sure that everybody who wants to be heard is heard, that’s really the object of this suggestion that we made.”
Expanding to a study inquiry would allow people to testify without being sworn in and they wouldn’t need a lawyer, Oppal said.
“When you have an inquiry of this sort many people come forward, particularly those people who feel aggrieved and people who are vulnerable. So for that reason we want people to feel comfortable.”