Funding cut a mistake: B.C. NDP

B.C. New Democrats say the Liberal government’s plan to cut funding for a program that raises awareness of criminal danger near the so-called Highway of Tears is a mistake.

VICTORIA — B.C. New Democrats say the Liberal government’s plan to cut funding for a program that raises awareness of criminal danger near the so-called Highway of Tears is a mistake.

New Democrat Leader Carole James says plans to cut the position of Highway of Tears co-ordinator at Prince George-based Carrier Sekani Family Services will be felt throughout the province’s northern region.

James says the program is critical to helping grieving families and promoting awareness among young women.

At least 18 women have been killed or disappeared during the last several decades along the 750-kilometre stretch of Highway 16 that runs from Prince George to Prince Rupert.

Nicole Hoar, a 25-year-old Red Deer woman, was working as a tree planter in B.C. when she vanished on June 21, 2002, while hitch-hiking along Hwy 16 to visit her sister in Smithers, B.C.

She was last seen standing in front of a gas station west of Prince George, about a 25-minute drive from a property that was searched in August 2009.

RCMP found the remains of a woman during an intensive search of a a two-hectare lot in a small lumber town, located about 50 km northwest of Prince George.

But police later said the remains were not those of Hoar.

Acting solicitor general Mike de Jong says the government is negotiating a funding agreement with Carrier Sekani Family Services, but the organization, like many across the province, is not immune to cost cutting.

Carrier Sekani Family Services receives about $70,000 as part of its Highway of Tears program.