Excerpt from the Official Report of


May 27, 2015

Coroner's inquest into mill explosions and call for public inquiry

S. Simpson: The Lakeland inquest has now concluded. The families, we know, wanted an independent inquiry to determine responsibility and look critically at the role of WorkSafe B.C. in this tragedy that led to two deaths and over 20 injuries. The Premier and the minister rejected that request and endorsed sending the matter to the coroner's inquest.

The families then asked for legal counsel to ensure their questions were asked. That was denied by government as well.

The inquest jury has now concluded and presented non-binding recommendations, primarily on operational matters. But we know they were forbidden from addressing or answering the family's questions because of the coroner's process. The families and workers are frustrated by a process that was destined not to provide the answers to their questions.

What does the Premier say to those families and workers who believe this process has failed them?


S. Simpson: While we know that the recommendations of the jury will provide for operational improvements, we also know that the families, the victims and the workers need closure. They are not getting closure from this process.

The Babine inquest will be held in July in Burns Lake. The families there are bracing for the same disappointment. This community there feels abandoned, to the point where Maureen Luggi, the widow of one of the victims, has started fundraising so that they can hire legal counsel. Ultimately, the families at Babine believe — like the families at Lakeland now know — that they will not get the resolution they're seeking without an independent inquiry.

The Premier has an opportunity today to acknowledge the inadequacy of this process to answer these questions. If she's not prepared to put an independent inquiry in place, will the Premier at least pay for legal counsel for the families in Burns Lake so that they can have a voice?




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