Sunday, March 18, 2007

B.C union repeats call for special prosecutor to deal with forestry deaths

click for full text by Jeremy Hainsworth, Canadian Press
The United Steelworkers union is repeating calls for a special prosecutor to be appointed to look into what it calls criminally caused forestry industry deaths in B.C.

The call comes days after WorkSafe B.C. levied a $297,000 fine against Weyerhaeuser Canada in connection with the 2004 sawmill death of Lyle Hewer.

Union spokesman Steve Hunt says such a prosecutor is needed under Bill C-45 - also known as the Westray Act after the 1992 Nova Scotia Westray mine explosion that killed 26 miners.

The bill holds employers criminally responsible for negligence which leads to workplace deaths.

Worksafe B.C. says mill management ignored safety concerns and condoned a culture where "complacency in the face of danger became the norm."

The union has sent a letter to Premier Gordon Campbell and Attorney General Wally Oppal saying the need for a prosecutor is urgent.

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