Oppal draws criticism over acting choice
VANCOUVER: Commissioner plays ‘bitpart’ of victim in serial-killer movie
In his full-time job, Wally Oppal is investigating how serial killer Robert Pickton managed to kill so many women.
In his spare time, Oppal is acting in a movie about a serial killer who goes after investment bankers.
In the movie, he gets shot. In real life, he’s fending off verbal slings and arrows criticizing him for his acting role while the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, which he heads, continues.
“I don’t see anything inappropriate about it,” Oppal said Thursday.
“Listen, nobody has been more passionate about what has gone on here [at the inquiry] than me,” he said. “So on a Sunday morning between nine and one I go and do a bit-part in this movie on my own time. And there is certainly no intent to show any disrespect to anything here. And the balance of the day I go work on what we are doing.
“So absolutely, I make no apologies for that. I am entitled to have a life. I am working day and night on this and there is hardly a day I don’t go into the office.”
However, family members of some of Pickton’s victims expressed surprise over his participation in the film.
Ernie Crey, whose sister Dawn Crey was murdered by Pickton, said he is “surprised Mr. Oppal would take part in a movie shot while labouring under a tight deadline to complete his work as the head of the missing women’s inquiry.”
“While he does have a right to a private life, he should have taken a pass on his debut as a film star,” said Crey.
The film, titled The Bailout, is a fictional tale of a man who lost everything in the 2008 stock market crash and is exacting revenge by systematically killing investment bankers.
Oppal has a cameo as one of the marked for death stockbrokers, alongside developer Bruce Langereis.
This week, pictures of the pair cropped up showing Oppal costumed in a bloodied dress shirt.
He said that he was invited to do the bit-part as an extra because “a friend of mine is the producer.”
Scenes were shot on location in Vancouver last week.
B.C. Civil Liberties Association president Robert Holmes said although Oppal had a long record of public service and his integrity wasn’t in question, his choice to participate presented bad optics.
“I don’t think anyone can question his integrity and at this point if he wants to go off and be a movie actor that’s his choice,” he said.
As for the subject matter of the film, Holmes said, “it is fiction, but at the same time, I think it doesn’t show the sensitivity that is required in that position. I think frankly, it adds to the perception that the missing women’s inquiry has not been handled in as deft a manner as it should have been.”
Oppal shot back that if the BCCLA, which boycotted the inquiry, “spent less time complaining about what I did on a Sunday and more taking part in this inquiry, it might be more fruitful.”
The inquiry is set to wrap up June 30.