Dix to Premier Clark: Babine sawmill workers and their families demand independent inquiry

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VANCOUVER —New Democrat leader Adrian Dix has written Premier Clark formally requesting she convene an independent inquiry into the botched handling of the investigation into the Babine Forest Products mill explosion.

Dix met with Babine mill workers and their families in Burns Lake on January 21.

“Those affected by this tragedy are not only frustrated and angry, they have lost trust in government,” said Dix. “They made it clear to me that nothing short of a fully independent inquiry into the handling of the investigation will satisfy them. I support them and urge the Premier to act promptly on their demand.”

“The appointment of the Premier’s own deputy minister has simply rubbed salt in the wounds of the community. The Premier needs to show that she takes her government’s responsibility for ensuring the safety of workers seriously.

Dix pointed out that the recently announced coroner’s inquest means there are now multiple reviews dealing with different aspects of the tragedy. “That’s why it is essential to have an independent inquiry to address all aspects of what went wrong,” said Dix.

Dix also raised concerns about other consequences of the botched investigation. “The public fighting between WorkSafe BC and the Criminal Justice Branch is being exploited by Hampton Affiliates to exonerate itself and escape blame. And a dangerous message is being sent that worker safety is simply not a priority for this Liberal government,” said Dix.

“How many more workers must be killed or injured before government takes its responsibility for the safety of workers seriously? Workers in B.C. deserve better.”

A copy of Dix’s letter to the premier can be viewed here.