Renewed Calls for Inquiry Four Years After Babine Blast
Vancouver – There are renewed calls for a public inquiry today on the four year anniversary of the Babine sawmill explosion in Burns Lake.
The explosion killed two men, Carl Charlie and Robert Luggi, and seriously injured 20 others.
The following is a joint statement from the United Steelworkers, the BC Federation of Labour, the First Nations Summit, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the BC Assembly of First Nation:
“It has been four long years since the tragic explosion at the Babine Forest Products Ltd. sawmill in Burns Lake, BC on January 20, 2012, that killed Carl Charlie and Robert Luggi, and seriously injured twenty others.”
The groups are demanding Premier Christy Clark “honour her commitment to answers and accountability, and immediately establish an independent public inquiry to ensure tragedies like these never happen again.”
They add coroner’s inquests held last year into the explosions at the Babine sawmill and three months later at the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George killing Alan Little and Glenn Roche, were “strictly a fact-finding process,” which “left the families and the victims with more questions than answers.”
They add “no justice or substantive changes resulted from these inquests,” noting “that the lay jury’s recommendations, although comprehensive and well-intentioned, are only voluntary and do not have the power to ensure the necessary changes are made in order to hold the employers, the government, and other organizations such as the Workers’ Compensation Board, accountable.”
They say the coroner’s inquests were limited to the events leading up to the incidents, “and not the seriously flawed investigations that followed.”