New Democrats call on government to put safety of mill workers first

Posted in:

VICTORIA – New Democrats are calling on the Liberal government to release the full report into the tragic explosion at the Babine Forest Products Mill in Burns Lake.

The explosion took place 18 months ago, and there has since been another explosion at the Lakeland Mill in Prince George.

“The rebuilding of the Lakeland Mill began today, but critical questions still remain about the relationship between dust and danger in B.C. mills,” said New Democrat leader Adrian Dix.

The government has released only a censored report into the Babine mill tragedy. The full 100-page B.C. Safety Authority report was due out in January, but following an emergency meeting with ministers Rich Coleman and Shirley Bond, and former minister Pat Bell, only a 10-page version with the report’s recommendations was released publicly. Board members were instructed to “destroy any copies, excerpts or references… to prevent inadvertent disclosure” of the original report.

“Last week, we heard that 25 mills in this province have dangerous levels of dust build-up, sufficient to pose a risk of an explosion,” said New Democrat forest critic Norm Macdonald. “What possible reason could this government have to suppress a report that could help the industry to reduce this unacceptable level of risk?

“Tens of thousands of women and men will go to work in B.C. mills tomorrow – their safety is of paramount importance.”

The explosions at the Babine and Lakeland mills killed four people and injured 42. New Democrats are calling on the government to release the full BCSA report and any other information that could help keep B.C.’s mill workers safe.