Friday, December 19, 2014

Criminal Code 217.1 was a result of Westray Mine's 26 deaths. Why didn't 217.1 protect Roderick MacIsaac from Christy Clark's 'heavy-handed' Caucus?

Firings of eight BC health ministry workers and contractors Report released to the Public on Friday?

How much money have BC taxpayers been charged with so that Premier Christy Clark and Minister of Health Terry Lake could be coached on how to use the phrase 'heavy-handed and we apologize for that' in the Legislature during Question Period?   

In 2012, did the BC Government Cabinet, and their OIC Appointees, skip the course on the impropriety of suspending employee without pay, then outright firing them before finding conclusive evidence?  Did the Cabinet do all of this without requesting that the RCMP do an investigation, instead they led the workers, and the Public, to believe that the RCMP were in the loop?

The immediate result of this fiasco has been that workers & contractors have taken their concerns of unlawful dismissal to legal Counsels where some cases have been settled out of Court already therefore the results, the awards, have not been made public, never will be, because the BC Liberals consider all legal fees used for the protection of the Crown are subject to Privilege.

Three cases are still outstanding.

One will never be resolved, but  his death shouldn't be forgotten, swept under a carpet, nor should it be covered by a heavy-handed apology.   There is a Law.

 - Bob Mackin:
Investigation into Health Ministry data breach "flawed from the outset"    - Nobody named or shamed in report that describes a bullying culture in one of the biggest B.C. ministries
 -  Justine Hunter - Globe and Mail
“The investigation was not conducted with a suitably open mind,” she wrote. The fact that the employees were suspended without pay hindered the investigation and created a climate of fear in the ministry that hampered productivity.
Ms. McNeil was particularly critical of the way the workers were interviewed, saying they were not given a chance to fully respond to the allegations, and that questions were posed in an aggressive and “intimidating” way.   


The real concern that the Public, and workers & Contractors should be aware of  ....was nothing learned from the Westray Mine Disaster with the loss of 26 lives?

Apparently the BC Liberal Government hasn't accepted any advise from within Caucus, nor have they sought outside via legal channels in regards to  217.1 of the Canadian Criminal Code (2004).  217.1 hasn't even been mentioned in the Burns Lake and Prince George Sawmill disasters, lives lost there too.    217.1 has two other titles:  Bill-C45 and Westray Mine Disaster.

- Teamster Rails pushed for Bill-C45, from 1992 to 2004:
This Criminal Code affects all organizations and individuals who direct the work of others, anywhere in Canada. These organizations include federal, provincial and municipal governments, corporations, private companies, charities and non-governmental organizations.......  
......."the criminal law must be reserved for the most serious offences, those that involve grave moral faults... the Government does not intend to use the federal criminal law power to supplant or interfere with the provincial regulatory role in workplace health and safety"
What, the Provincial regulatory role holders, WorkSafeBC that couldn't gather enough evidence together that was acceptable to the Attorney General Deputy Minister to be able to prosecute the Sawmill companies?
Duty of persons directing work

217.1 Every one who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task. 
Persons that do have the authority to deal with internal matters:

The Premier who handled an in-house 'incident of concern' did so by not writing anything down, no notes, no FOI possible, private email Channels were used, shredded everything, and finally verbally dealt with while on a plane flying out to Asia on a Trade Mission;


Deputy Minister; Chief of Staff.

- Department of Justice:   Corporate Liability
The Government (Federal) is aware of the frustration felt by the families of the Westray victims over the apparent inability of the criminal justice system to deal with what appears to have been serious corporate wrongdoing. However, the failure of the Westray prosecutions was the result, in part, of a series of prosecutorial decisions which were themselves the subject of a review by provincial authorities. Indeed, it appears that prosecutors believed there was a reasonable possibility of conviction of both the corporation and two of its officers, under current Canadian law governing corporate criminal liability, until one of three prosecution experts developed doubts as to the cause of the explosion. As a result, the question whether the actions of Curragh Inc., the owner and operator of the Westray mine, and some of its officers and directors amounted to criminal negligence causing death or manslaughter never came to trial.
..... Unlike workplace safety and health legislation that can mandate certain practices, the criminal law, by its very nature, is reactive. It does not prescribe how an activity should be carried out. Instead, it sanctions harm that has been caused by a flagrant disregard of the norms of society.  ....

Hon. T. Lake: The members opposite seem to want to pick and choose which public servants deserve to be treated fairly. The members opposite accuse the government of rushing to judgment. And we have said that in some cases, the treatment of some individuals….

Madame Speaker: Order.

Hon. T. Lake: We have said that in some cases, some individuals were treated in a heavy-handed manner, and we apologize for that. That is why we have set up a review by an independent person to look at the HR policies that were carried out, to ensure that public servants are treated fairly with the HR processes that are in place.

Unlike the members opposite, we want to find out a better road to manage human resources in the public sector, and that's what Ms. McNeil's report will do. We look forward to seeing it on December 19.

1. Clumsy; awkward.
2. Tactless; indiscreet.
3. Oppressive; harsh.

There is one person who currently sits at the BC Liberal Caucus table who had the opportunity to inform fellow Cabinet ministers on the perils of ignoring 217.1:

2014 Bio
Between 1980 and 2000, Ralph held senior officer and director positions in a variety of financial, mining, forestry and technology sector companies, and owned and operated his own investment company. In the mining sector, he was Executive Vice President of Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company, a subsidiary of Anglo American Corporation, and was Vice-Chair of Curragh Resources in the Yukon, and held other executive positions.

2004   217.1 came into existence    No mention of Curragh Resources in a 2001 Bio.

2001 Bio
Between 1980 and 2000, he held senior officer and director positions in avariety of financial, mining, forestry and technology sector companies, and owned and operated his own investment company. In the 1990's, after returning home to British Columbia, Ralph served as President of a joint venture with a major American corporation, engaged in the development of a fibreboard mill.

Strategic Thoughts  October 11, 2001

Both BC Liberal website and the legislative biography page fail to mention Sultan's role as a Director of Curragh Resources Inc. The North Shore News, May 16, 2001, reported "A government commission struck to investigate the causes of the explosion shortly after the tragedy found parent company Curragh Resources Inc. and provincial mining inspectors negligent in their approach to worker safety at the mine." That mine is Westray where 26 miners were killed on May 9, 1992.

1993 Financial Post  September 21st
An Ontario Court yesterday placed more of Curragh Inc.'s assets in receivership after chairman Cliff Frame returned from Europe without a financial backer. Under a 14-day court order, Deloitte & Touche Inc. will act as interim receiver of Curragh's Faro zinc mine in the Yukon, allowing creditors more time to negotiate. Curragh's Westray coal mine in Nova Scotia remains under the protection of the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, pending talks between creditors and the Nova Scotia government.


No firings, no death

Further Reading:

Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety  Bill C-45 Overview

 - Cindy E. Harnett - Times Colonist

Fired researcher’s sister seeks answers in report due today
- Andrew MacLeod, The Tyee

Conflicted Agency Retains Responsibility for Health Ministry Firings Review    Officials involved in debacle to handle release of report after all.

- Andrew MacLeod, The Tyee
What we should know so far about the Health Ministry Firings

- Hon. Donald Downe, Minister of Transportation and Public Works speaking on the floor of the Nova Scotia Legislature, 1 December 1997
-   I make this pledge to the families.  Westray will not be some vague memory of a tragic accident.  It will be a living, active presence in workplaces across Nova Scotia.  Your husbands, your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your friends, will never be forgotten.  Every time someone wants to cut a corner or bend a rule, we will remind them there can never be another Westray and this government will not allow it.

Westray Coal Mine Disaster, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, At 5:18am on 9 May 1992 the Westray coal mine exploded killing 26 miners

As of March 1992, the directors of Curragh Inc. were:
• Clifford H. Frame, Director, Chairman & C.E.O., Toronto, Ontario
• Ralph G.M. Sultan, Director, Toronto, Ontario
• Walter M. Bowen, Director, Toronto, Ontario
• James A. Hunt, Director, Pleasant Valley, New York
• John B. Mitchell, Director, Mississauga, Ontario
     (Listed here in the order that appears in the RJSC database.)
—  Source: #1926487, Registry of Joint Stock Companies of Nova Scotia 

Westray Remembered


Note:  Not a whisper of and excuse of       Heavy-handed


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North Van's Grumps said...