On Wednesday Aug.16 the UK’s Guardian newspaper published an exclusive story reporting on the federal government’s response to the recommendations of the jury given at the inquest of triple murder victims Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Nathalie Warmerdam. As we reported in June 2022, top of the list of the jury’s recommendations was that Intimate Partner Violence be declared an epidemic. Basil Borutski carried out the three murders in less than an hour in September 2015, despite a record of violence and having been officially identified as being “high risk” two years earlier. By the time the inquest into the triple femicide ended nearly seven years later, a further 111 women in Ontario had been killed by their current or former partner. Our report of the inquest’s findings includes a link to all 86 recommendations made by the jury, among them one to amend the Criminal Code of Canada to highlight gender-based killing of women and girls. Click HERE to read.
However, the provincial government declined to accept the first recommendation of the CKW Inquest jury in its response published about a year later on 27 June 2023. Its reason for doing so was that the term “epidemic” refers only to infectious disease.
Writing for The Guardian, Tracey Lindeman based her report on having seen a letter dated 14 August 2023 from Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Canada, Arif Virani (pictured above), which he sent to the Chief Coroner of Ontario. The federal government’s endorsement that gender-based violence is an epidemic that has “no place in our country” follows similar declarations made by 42 municipalities (including Renfrew County, as well as Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor). In the same letter, Minister Virani indicated that Canada intends to criminalize coercive control – a form of Intimate Partner Violence meant to isolate, intimidate and control victims.