Premier Clark slams WorkSafeBC mill blast investigation

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

B.C. Premier Christy Clark. (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark. (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark will not be calling a public inquiry into the Burns Lake mill explosion that claimed two lives two years ago, despite expressing her disappointment in WorkSafeBC’s inability to produce a satisfactory investigation.

On Thursday, John Dyble, Clark’s deputy minister, released a report into the Jan. 20, 2012, blast titled Babine Explosion Investigation; Fact Pattern and Recommendations.

Clark said the review revealed the workplace safety authority’s investigation into the accident that killed Robert Luggi, 45, and Carl Charlie, 42, didn’t “leave all the options on the table” and ignored evidence-gathering procedures.

“WorkSafe should have known what was required by the Criminal Justice Branch in order to proceed with a case to court,” Clark said at a Vancouver media conference. “WorkSafe had been advised previously by the branch about evidence-gathering procedures for prosecution purposes.”

Labour groups and opposition politicians were furious when the initial investigation found fault but didn’t result in criminal charges after the authority released its report on Jan. 16.

Despite the harsh words for WorkSafeBC, Clark said she wouldn’t be ordering a public inquiry into the explosion on the advice the outcome would not be any different.

She added the regulatory body must adopt all the recommendations made in Dyble’s report and explain why it didn’t appear to understand the rules of evidence required by the Criminal Justice Branch.

Harry Bains, the BC NDP labour critic, agreed with Clark on the failure of the WorkSafeBC investigation, but said a public inquiry must be held.

“What these families need and what the members need … they need justice, real justice,” he said.


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