1987-1999
Westray Coal Mine
in Hansard




Pictou County, Nova Scotia

At 5:18am on 9 May 1992 the Westray coal mine exploded
killing 26 miners




Convenient Links to
Westray-in-Hansard items:

•  #   1987
•  #   1988
•  #   1989
•  #   1990
•  #   1991
•  #   1992
•  #   1993
•  #   1994
•  #   1995
•  #   1996
•  #   1997
•  #   1998
•  #   1999
•  #   2000
•  #   2001
•  #   2002
•  #   2003
•  #   2004
•  #   2005
•  #   2006
•  #   2007
•  #   2008
•  #   2009
•  #   2010



Below is a collection of Westray-related items
found in Hansard


What is Hansard?


HANSARD is the informal title for the official printed reports of parliamentary debates.

The printed verbatim record — of the proceedings in a Legislature or the House of Commons, published after each sitting — is often identified as "Hansard" which is the name of the British family responsible during most of the 1800s for the transcription of the proceedings of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom.

The Origins of Hansard:

From the second half of the sixteenth century the British Parliament prohibited all reporting and publishing of its proceedings.  The Parliament believed it should deliberate in private and regarded any attempt to publicise its proceedings as a serious punishable offence.  By the late eighteenth century dissension among more progressive members of Parliament, the growing weight of public opinion and the increasingly outspoken attacks of the press, persuaded the Parliament to relax its stance.

In 1803 the British House of Commons passed a resolution giving the press the right to enter the Public Gallery.  That same year William Cobbett, (an MP), using reporters in relays had them write up what they could remember in his Political Register. In 1811 Cobbett sold his company to his assistant, Thomas Curson Hansard, the government printer's son, who published these condensed versions of debates monthly.  In 1829 the name of the publication was changed to Hansard's Parliamentary Debates.

By the late 1870s dissatisfaction with the accuracy of the report was being expressed.  As a result Parliament voted Hansard the sum of £300 a year for shorthand assistance.  The Hansard family continued to produce the Parliamentary Debates until 1889.  In 1888 a joint committee of both houses of the British Parliament decided to let a public tender for the reporting of debates.  The Hansard family lost the tender and thus ended that family's association with parliamentary reporting.  Other publishers continued to print transcripts of the debates until the House of Commons took control in 1909 of the reporting and printing of parliamentary debates.  It was during the sixty years of the Hansard family's publication that the name Hansard became synonymous with the printed debates.

Hansard was dropped from the official name for the parliamentary reports in 1889, but the informal name Hansard remained in common use.  In 1943 the British Parliament reinstated the name Hansard in the title of its formal records.

The reporting method officially adopted by the British Parliament in 1907 was a "full report, in the first person, of all speakers alike."  A full report being defined as: "...one which, though not strictly verbatim, is substantially the verbatim report, with repetitions and redundancies omitted and with obvious mistakes corrected, but which on the other hand leaves out nothing that adds to the meaning of the speech or illustrates the argument."  This is a good description of the way Hansard reports of proceedings in Canadian provincial and territorial Legislatures, and the House of Commons and the Senate in Ottawa, are produced today.


History of Hansard in Canada

Indexing legislative text: Alberta Hansard

Fact Sheet No. 6 Manitoba Legislative Assembly

Manitoba Hansard for 1958-1959 Manitoba Historical Society
(Earliest known online Hansard)








 

1987






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1987 November 12
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/26-legislature/session4/003_Nov_12_1987.html


Mr. Dan Lang:
...Over the past couple of years, there has been some positive development, positive developments that I think have touched all people in Yukon in one manner or another, and I refer specifically to the mining industry to begin with: the development of Mount Skukum; the development of the Canamex property at Ketsa River; the revival of United Keno Hill Mines; the resurrection of Cyprus Anvil, now known as Curragh Resources...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1987 November 18
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/26-legislature/session4/006_Nov_18_1987.html


Hon. Mr. McDonald:
I am pleased to introduce to the Legislature today an executive of Curragh Resources from Toronto, Mr. Ralph Sultan, vice president of the company.

... I rise today to make an important announcement that was only concluded moments ago, and therefore I apologize to Members opposite for the short notice given to them for the details of my remarks.  I am pleased to announce to the House today that a new arrangement has been struck between Curragh Resources, Faro Real Estate Limited and this government that will assist the people of Faro by lowering their housing costs.  Late this morning an agreement was reached that will result in modification of the $3.4 million Yukon mortgage with Curragh Resources.  Members will recall that the original mortgage provided a repayment term over seven years.  In recognition of the continuing confidence this government has in the company's operation in Faro and the future developments on the Van Gorda Plateau we have agreed to extend the repayment term of the loan for an additional seven years.  In effect the original mortgage will be modified to provide for a term of 14 years commencing November 22, 1985 and expiring November 22, 1999.  We are delighted with this new arrangement because we not only protected the security position of the government but this arrangement will result in reduced housing costs for the people of Faro.  We are particularly pleased because Curragh Resources have facilitated this arrangement by agreeing to extend long-term financing to Faro Real Estate Limited...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1987 December 1
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/26-legislature/session4/009_Dec_1_1987.html


Hon. Mr. McDonald:
Mr. Speaker, just now I had the pleasure of tabling the Port of Skagway pre-feasibility study.  This study was commissioned by the Government of Yukon and the City of Skagway in view of the increasingly important role of the Klondike Highway-Skagway Corridor to the growth and development of the Yukon and the City of Skagway.  The Alaska-Yukon agreement, negotiated by this government in 1986, permitted the year round operation of the South Klondike Highway and was instrumental in the opening and continued operation of the Curragh Resources mine at Faro.  Now that this highway is open year round it provides an opportunity to develop a major transportation corridor between Skagway and the Beaufort Sea via Yukon's transportation system.  This pre-feasibility study is an important step in this process.  A 38 percent increase since 1985 in tourist and commercial traffic along the South Klondike highway indicates that this route is of significance to these sectors of the economy.  Recent discussions regarding the possible revival of the rail system further point to a need for rational port development in Skagway which will effectively accommodate future demands...

[boldface emphasis added]





 

1988






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1988 March 28
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/26-legislature/session5/003_Mar_28_1988.html


Address in Reply to Speech from the Throne

Hon. Mr. McDonald:
I thank you for the opportunity to speak to the Throne Speech today... The communities – which are our mainstay, our life blood – with their own inherent strength had to be strengthened again and allowed to blossom further, so that people could choose to stay to develop the economy and not be forced to leave while the government was fixating on mega projects and a dreamscape on the economic horizon.  The governments, the private sector and individuals and organizations had to work together to reach the ultimate goals and, ultimately, more independence.  So this government, with a tremendous amount of hustle, started to work immediately in support of such activities as the opening of the Curragh Mine, the establishment of the Skagway Road as a year-round transportation link between our centres and ports external to the territory; there was support for the Yukon Energy Corporation after the assets had been transferred from NCPC to the Yukon, with a recognition that power rates had to be maintained to a minimum in order to provide industry with the kind of support required to ensure that the economic growth that we knew we were capable of would continue unabated and grow even further to new heights... The government is very long on promises and very short on delivery.  The speeches are generally full of baloney and this one is no exception.  Take page two, for example, which states at the top of the page: "The federal government has responded generously to the Yukon's economic plight, working cooperatively to help reopen the Faro mine and to transfer the Yukon assets of Northern Canada Power Commission".  However, by the end of the page this federal contribution is soon forgotten.  The speech states blatantly: "My government has taken the following major economic initiatives: the mine at Faro has been reopened with millions of dollars invested in roads, energy, housing and community services."  Now it is all "my" government.  There is no mention that all of the money came from the federal government and that it was Curragh Resources and the federal government that were primarily responsible for the opening of the mine...

[boldface emphasis added]





 

1989





 

1990





 

1991






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1991 November 18
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/27-legislature/session2/056_Nov_18_1991.html


Mr. Devries:
...In the budget address, we see the government congratulating themselves on the amount of land developed into lots, but to obtain a lot is a joke.  There just are none available.  The Minister of Community and Transportation Services is aware of the problem surrounding the Watson Lake land lottery last spring and I would like to hear what policy has been put into place to prevent that situation from happening again.  Also, the Minister should take a lesson from the man who travels – Mr. Clifford Frame.  The Frances Avenue project and the construction of the mine both started at the same time.  A $70 million mine has already been in production for several months and the $1 million Frances Avenue development just went up for lottery last week, with a warning that the road would be soft next spring – obviously still incomplete.  Perhaps we should look at more private developers being used to get the housing sites on stream.  Yukon Housing is another area that cannot seem to keep up with demand.  My feeling is that much of the problem is lack of land for development...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1991 November 19
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/27-legislature/session2/057_Nov_19_1991.html


Mr. Lang:
...Could the Minister tell the House how well Curragh is doing in securing the necessary financing?

Hon. Mr. Byblow:
What the Member is describing is the efforts of Curragh Resources to raise some $30 million to finance the Van Gorder stripping program, in preparation for continued supply to the mill.  As indicated by the Premier, I can tell the Member that we are in constant and regular communication with officials of Curragh, respecting not just the raising of the financing for the stripping program, but in matters relating to the current production at Faro.  The company is indeed attempting to utilize the convertible debenture that currently rests on the Westray Coal Mine in Nova Scotia, as part of the mortgage financing for the new issue of shares.  It is premature to describe the success of that effort; it is currently ongoing and every effort is being made to provide that source of funding...

Mr. Lang:
Can the Minister tell us if the federal government has been approached to assist in this particular project?

Hon. Mr. Byblow:
By virtue of efforts to utilize a convertible debenture that currently rests on the assets of Westray Coal in Nova Scotia, the federal government is involved, due to the security provided by the federal government on that debenture.  The short answer to the Member's question is yes; the federal government is also intimately involved in the financing efforts of Curragh Resources...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1991 December 17
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/27-legislature/session2/073_Dec_17_1991.html


Mr. Lang:
...I want to go on to another area, if I could, and that is the question in the area of energy.  I have a number of questions there.  In the 1990 strategic plan that was published, it indicated that in the neighbourhood of 10 gigawatt hours would be energy fuelled by imported diesel fuel.  The balance of what was needed was going to be provided through our other energy sources.  Subsequently, things have changed dramatically

I want to ask the witness if he can verify if we are up in the neighbourhood of 30 gigawatt hours using imported fuels.

Mr. Sweatman:
That is correct.  That is what was in the strategic plan.  Our current forecasts indicate significantly more diesel.  I do not have the exact number, but I think it is more than 30, actually.  It may be 30 now that the Aishihik reservoir is filled and we will be generating with hydro at that time, but yes, that is true.

The change in circumstances, I should note, results more from a change in Curragh than it does in a change from a change in the other forecasts.  Our load forecasting is very much influenced by Curragh and there is — unfortunately, I did not bring it with me — a chart of how Curragh's forecasts varied over the past 18 months, and they have varied from a low of around 145 gigawatt hours for the year, to a high of 210 gigawatt hours for the year.  It is very difficult to plan in that context.  One of the advantages of the new contract that we have signed with Curragh is that those fluctuations are taken up with them paying the actual cost of producing that additional energy, so it does not impact on other rates.  On the current margin, yes, we are generating with diesel, so that if Curragh goes up by 10, diesel goes up by 10...

[boldface emphasis added]





 

1992






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1992 April 27
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/27-legislature/session3/004_Apr_27_1992.html


Second reading: Bill No. 52, the Faro Mine Loan Act


Hon. Mr. Penikett:
I move that Bill No. 52, entitled Faro Mine Loan Act, be read a second time.

Speaker:
It has been moved by the Hon. Premier that Bill No. 52, entitled Faro Mine Loan Act, be now read a second time.

Hon. Mr. Penikett:
As all Members know, this bill is required to give legislative sanction to the loan of money to Curragh Resources.  This money enables the company to strip overburden from the Grum ore body at Faro and thereby, extend the life of that mine into the next century.  The importance of the Faro mine to Yukon's economy is well known to all Members of this House.  The mine, directly and indirectly, accounts for almost one-fifth of the gross territorial product, seven percent of our employed workforce and 12 percent of the Yukon's total labour income.  It does not take much to imagine the consequences of a closure of this mine.  Aside from the personal tragedy for the mine workers and their families, almost every person and business in the territory would feel the impact of a shutdown at Faro as the multiplier effect worked through the economy.  We could expect an eventual loss of population.  This would have a serious negative impact on our formula financing arrangements because of the population escalator.  Although we are gradually reducing our dependence on transfer payments, a large drop in transfer payments as a direct result of people leaving the territory could result in decreased services.

It is no secret to anyone who follows the industry that the mining industry in general, and Curragh in particular, are experiencing difficult times.  Depressed metal prices, brought on by the world recession, the high Canadian dollar and high real interest rates, have all put a strain on mine operators.  While Curragh Resources has been able to weather the storm, they have done so by using their cash reserves, reserves that would otherwise have been used to strip overburden from the Grum property.  Also, the company must hold cash reserves to cover operating losses that may occur before there is a turnaround in the base metal business.  At the same time, Curragh's access to loan funding is limited because of the overall depressed state of the industry.  Without the money this bill makes available, the company cannot begin to strip the Grum deposit.  If the stripping had not begun by now, there could have been an ore gap at the Faro mine in the latter part of the current year, which could force the mill to close.  If the mill closes, the cashflow required to provide funds for stripping and mining ceases, and the whole operation might have to close, with the consequences I previously mentioned.  Aside from these consequences, there would be additional costs for mothballing the mine and, upon reopening, the startup.  Startup costs can be of such magnitude that they could affect the very decision to open.

We examined all these matters closely over the past several months, and concluded that the only sound course of action was the one we decided upon: to loan money to the company to begin stripping.  These funds will be matched by Curragh Resources for a total of $10 million being spent on the Grum stripping program.  This $10 million will fund that program for several months, but many millions more will be required to complete the stripping.  It is our hope, and our belief, that the market for base metals will pick up over the next several months, and the Canadian dollar's strength will ease somewhat.  There are already some encouraging signs.  With the anticipated changes in the metals and money markets, Curragh should be able to generate more cash than needs to be devoted to the stripping program, enabling the company to use some of the cash reserves they are presently holding to cover operating losses.  We also believe that our willingness to invest money in the Faro operation will send the appropriate message to the banks and financial markets, thus making it possible for the company to raise money in another manner.  Nonetheless, no business transaction is without risk.  I do not wish to mislead Members of the House by saying that this is a guaranteed win-win situation.  There is always the possibility of a loss, but we believe it to be remote.  First, we have faith in the mine's viability.  That is the best security of all.  Second, we have made the best arrangements we could secure for the loan of this money.  The registered legal security for our loan is the unencumbered portion of Curragh's concentrate inventories and accounts receivables.  Under normal circumstances, these far exceed the value of our loan.  We believe in the long-term viability of the Faro mine.  We recognize its importance to our economy and to the mine's employees and their families.  We are determined to see the promise of this mine realized.  That is the purpose of the bill, and I commend it for favourable attention...

[boldface emphasis added]






Mrs. Firth:
I, too, will have many questions for the Minister responsible for giving this loan to Curragh Resources.  I  want to express my concern by giving a little bit of background information.  I  recall writing to the Minister responsible, the Government Leader, back in January, asking about this whole issue.  I  asked about whether or not Curragh Resources was going to be given any assistance, loan guarantees or whatever.  My letter was answered, stating that when the Government Leader felt that it was in the public's best interest and when he had some information and felt it was an appropriate time, he would tell us what was going on.  I  wrote back to the Minister with a suggestion.  I  wrote on February 13, to be exact, suggesting that Mr. Frame appear as a witness before the Legislature, as had happened in 1985, so that we could pose some questions to him and review the situation as an assembly of elected representatives.  The public would then have access to the information and we could all make a well-informed decision as to whether or not this was a good idea.

The way the Minister made his presentation this afternoon, indicating to us that this $5 million was going to extend the life of the mine into the next century, was not something I  have heard from people I  have talked to in Faro and it is not what the Faro officials are saying in the newspaper.  They are saying it will extend the life of the mine for three more months.  The question is then up in the air again.  I  think the Minister is overstating the effect that this $5 million that Yukon taxpayers are going to put out to start this Grum stripping in extending the life of the mine into the next century.  After I  wrote the letter suggesting that Mr. Frame appear in the Legislative Assembly to answer questions, I  received another letter from the Minister, saying he had been having private discussions and would get back to us at an appropriate time.  Should an aid package for Curragh be forthcoming, he said we would explore the idea with Mr. Frame.  That was back in February.  Today, I  asked a question in the House about Mr. Frame appearing, and we still do not have an answer about whether he or his officials will be appearing.  The first issue I  would like cleared up is whether these people will or will not be appearing and, if not, why not.

The other issue is that I  wrote back to the Minister when I  received the reply, and after I  read the article in the Globe and Mail that made it quite obvious that there were discussions going on and that something was happening, asking for some specific details about the agreement, so we could at least get a hint of what was going on.  All the time, we were asking for information, the Member of Parliament was asking for information from the Government Leader with respect to what this deal was, the media was phoning and asking for information, and there were Members on the other side of the House who were refusing to make any comments about the negotiations.  The MLA for the Town of Faro, for example, was refusing to make any comment.  I  wanted some basic questions answered, and I  have still received no reply from that letter.  It is only a month old now.  I  wrote it to the Minister at the end of March.  I  wanted to know about the plan that Curragh had in place to ensure us they could survive and do well.  We were asking for the set of conditions that were outlined in the loan guarantee.  This was at the time that we were still talking about a loan guarantee, not an outright cash advance of $5 million.  We were asking about reassurances that the project had been completed.  We were asking about what procedure was in place to see that the government would take the necessary steps to see that Curragh would do what it said it was going to do.

We asked how Curragh planned to pay back the money and was there a plan in place in the event that something went wrong and what was the fall-back position going to be?  They were reasonable questions, good business investment questions that any banker would ask you if you went to the bank seeking this kind of loan, and I  still have not received any reply to that letter or an answer to those questions.  Today, I  asked the Government Leader about the agreement itself.  We put a motion on the Order Paper asking for the agreement to be tabled.  To be frank, I  was quite surprised to see that the Minister did not bring in some form of an agreement or some of the agreement concepts and attach them to his piece of legislation.  The legislation simply says that we are giving Curragh $5 million and this will enable us to do it under the laws of the Yukon.  I  have a lot of questions that I  want answered regarding the viability of the project and I  think other Yukoners and people that I  have talked to in the mining community are interested in that as well.

No one wants to see Curragh shut down, but if it is going to continue requiring support, and we are going to continue to support it with taxpayers' money, I  think that people have a right to know what the conditions are and to know that there are some safeguards in place.  This venture is different from the last time Cyprus Anvil closed and was opened by Curragh.  The stripping of the Grum deposit is different.  Almost 10 years have gone by; the whole enterprise can be quite a bit risker.  We do not know this for sure, but I  am hearing from the mining community that it could be much riskier.  It is definitely going to be much more expensive because of the wage increases and the electrical rates.  It is not fair to go back and say: well, you know what happened last time, this is the same situation; it just is not so.  I  have some specific questions about why it is a loan and not a loan guarantee, and I  hope that we can get some answers, perhaps this evening, with respect to that.  I  think that the Minister has a responsibility to indicate to us some of the processes of this loan; specifically, with respect to the questions that were raised by the Member for Porter Creek East, and whether the Minister is abiding by all of the regulations and clauses in the Financial Administration Act.  I  am particularly looking to see whether or not the government has any accounting procedures in place to see that the $5 million that we have given to Clifford Frame and Curragh Resources is spent specifically on that stripping program.

I  am looking forward to the Government Leader responding to that this evening.  I  know when this government gets money from the federal government, it goes into a general revenue fund and can be spent on anything the government determines it should be spent on.  I  would like the Minister to give us some reassurance about that.  I  want to know where the agreement is.  What stage is it at?  The Minister said today in Question Period that he had to get all the documents signed and that we may be able to get some of the documentation.  The impression I  get is that the $5 million has been given to Curragh.  I  have to assume it has, because the company that is doing the stripping is carrying on operations, paying wages, operating the machines and driving the trucks.  Has the cheque already been handed over to Curragh Resources?  I  would like to know exactly what stage we are at with this arrangement.  I  would like to get some indication from the Government Leader why he felt it was so important that this information was kept from the public, from us as Members of the Legislative Assembly and from the Member of Parliament.  She, too, was asking for further information about this.  Why could we not all have been involved in this decision?  Why could we not have been given the information in advance of the Minister sitting down and, in secret, making an arrangement to lend Curragh Resources $5 million.  It is fine to give a big emotional speech about jobs, the town, mine shutdowns and the costs involved to get it running again.  None of us disagree with that emotional argument that has been presented, but we have to look at whether or not it is good business sense, as well.  If the banks are not prepared to support this initiative, I  have to ask why the government is so eager to do it?  Perhaps the Government Leader has information available to him that we do not know.  As a Member of this Legislature who represents 1,500 or so people in the territory, I  am not able to say whether or not this is a good deal or a bad deal, or a good idea or a bad idea, because we have not been provided with any information on it at all, except that we will have, as security, a pile of rock and ore.  I  have no idea what that means to us except that, in order to get our money back out of it, we would have to have a market for it and be able to move the ore in order to recover our losses.

I  also would like the question answered with respect to where the money is going to come from.  Does it just come out of the savings?  General revenue?  Where has the Government Leader all of a sudden come up with this $5 million from, when I  hear every Minister is saying we cannot do this, we do not have enough money; or we cannot do that program, we do not have enough money for it.  We have to cut back.  So I  would like to know where the Minister came up with this $5 million he is able to provide to this company.  I, too, will be looking for some reassurances from the Government Leader that no further loans, loan guarantees or commitments are made without us having a full public accounting, which means coming back to the Legislature and, if the need be, requesting that Mr. Frame or his officials also attend to answer questions.  I  would also appreciate getting something from the Minister in writing, short of the agreements, with regard to the recent communication I  sent to him a month ago.  I  would like some answers to those questions.  I  was not trying to be obnoxious this afternoon in trying to pin the Minister down as to a time when we are going to debate this.  I  know the House Leader is having discussions with us about when the Minister is going to be available for us to proceed with this in the Legislature, but I  think it would only be fair for him to give us some kind of a more accurate time line as to what we are looking at so that we are not just saying whenever it is convenient for the Minister we will proceed with this particular piece of legislation.  As to the Minister's red herring about whether Mr. Frame can appear or not – it has been a long time since we made that suggestion so, if the government had their agenda well organized, and in light of the Minister's commitments out of the territory, one would think they would have their agenda extremely fine tuned and would be able to give us some indication of where they are going and when they are going there.  I  am looking forward to getting some answers to those questions, and I  am definitely looking forward to seeing the agreement and perhaps having the officials from Curragh here in the Legislature to answer some questions...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1992 May 7
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/27-legislature/session3/011_May_7_1992.html


Hon. Mr. Penikett:
I move
    THAT at 4:00 p.m. until 4:45 p.m., Mr. Colin Benner, president of Curragh Resources, appear as a witness before Committee of the Whole during debate on Bill No. 52, the Faro Mine Loan Act...
...following discussions with the House Leaders, we have invited Curragh Resources to be present today.  I received a communication from Mr. Clifford Frame, chairman of Curragh Resources, some days ago that indicated that, while he would have liked to have been here, he was in Asia, unfortunately, and it was not possible.  He had asked his able number two man, Mr. Colin Benner, to be here in his stead.  Mr. Benner is intimately acquainted with the operations in the Yukon, both the mine at Faro and Sa Dena Hes.  I am sure he can answer any questions Members put to him...

Mr. Benner:
...The $5 million contribution from the Yukon territorial government, matched by $5 million from Curragh Inc. — as of two days ago, we have had a change of name — accommodates about four months of the stripping program...

Mrs. Firth:
...I have a quick question about the name change.  Since the witness made reference to it, perhaps he could tell us why their name has been changed to Curragh Inc...

Mr. Benner:
...On the name change to Curragh Inc. and the dropping of the word "Resources": quite honestly, I would have preferred to leave it "Curragh Resources Inc."  It was recommended by someone in the company that the term "resources" might be associated with a company that was going to be venturing off into other endeavours, other than just mining.  Our company is a mining company, and we intend to stay in the mining business.  It has no significance, other than that...

[boldface emphasis added]






The above items occurred before
the Westray coal mine exploded.







Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1992 May 11
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/27-legislature/session3/012_May_11_1992.html


Recognition of Westray Coal mine disaster

Hon. Mr. McDonald:
In the early morning hours of Saturday, May 9, a large explosion occurred at Westray Coal mine in Nova Scotia, which is owned and operated by Curragh, Inc.  It appears that there are 11 dead miners and there is little hope for the remaining 15 miners who worked the night shift.  Premier Tony Penikett has sent a letter of condolence through the Premier of Nova Scotia to the families of the miners who lost their lives.  I am sure that all Members would want to join me in expressing our sympathies to the families of those who died and our hope for those who may still be found alive.  Underground mining can be a dangerous business.  We should stand together with those who are closest to these tragedies and help them pull through.

Mr. Devries:
We on this side also wish to offer our condolences to the family and friends of the miners at the Westray Coal mine.  Words seem inadequate at times like this in view of the tragedy that has taken place.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the families in Plymouth, Nova Scotia.  May God comfort them during this time of hope and bereavement.

[boldface emphasis added]






British Columbia Legislature, Victoria
Hansard, 1992 May 11
     http://www.leg.bc.ca/35th1st/votes/v0511.htm

Ministerial Statement, Nova Scotia Mine Disaster


Hon. A. Edwards, Minister of Energy and Mines:
I rise to ask the House to join me in expressing sympathy and condolences to all those who feel the loss of eleven lives in the Nova Scotia mine disaster.  We feel this even more acutely in light of a slide in B.C.'s Greenhills mine earlier today in which a life may have been lost.  I therefore propose to send a telegram to the Mines minister of Nova Scotia and the mayor of Plymouth as follows:

"We share your sorrow at the loss of eleven lives in the Westray mine disaster and pray that you will reach the other fifteen while they are still alive.  Please extend the sympathy of the people of British Columbia to the families of the miners involved.  Our hopes are with you, as is our respect for those who deal daily with such risks."


D. Jarvis:
We in the Liberal party also wish to express our sorrow over the death of the eleven miners in Nova Scotia.  We can only hope with all of you that the remaining fifteen will be reached successfully.

C. Serwa:
What makes this message so particularly meaningful is that the mining industry has played a significant role in the province of British Columbia.  Mining disasters, both in hardrock mines and in coal-mines throughout the province of British Columbia, are part of our history.  The methane gas generated from coal-mines, which is what caused the explosion, has affected the minister's area, the Crowsnest Pass area — Fernie, Natal, Middle Town, Michel — and the Vancouver Island areas of Ladysmith and Nanaimo.  When the message is sent — and we support that message; we share in the sorrow and the grief — the understanding is there, because it has been a major and significant part of the early history of British Columbia.

Hon. G. Clark:
Hon. Speaker, perhaps by leave I might ask that you convey on behalf of all members of the House the sentiments expressed by all three parties today.

The Speaker:
If it's your wish, I will be pleased to do so, hon. members.

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1992 May 14
     http://hansardindex.ontla.on.ca/hansardeissue/35-2/l023.htm


Petition: Mine Disaster


Mr. Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin):
"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the tragic disaster at the Westray coal mine in Plymouth, Nova Scotia, is affecting many former Ontario miners and their families, including at least four who worked in the mines in Elliot Lake, which is in my riding;

"Whereas a tremendous outpouring of concern for all of the families affected has prompted mining communities across the country, including Elliot Lake, to respond with fund-raising campaigns and messages of encouragement and sympathy;

"Whereas many Ontario miners went to Westray following mine downsizing and layoffs in the Ontario mining industry,

"Therefore, we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"To formally express the province's awareness and concern for all of the miners and their families affected by the Nova Scotia disaster, with particular acknowledgement of all former Ontario miners who must leave the province to find work wherever they can find it."

I concur with this petition.

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1992 May 19
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/27-legislature/session3/016_May_19_1992.html


Mr. Lang:
If I may, I would like to direct a question to the Government Leader on an issue that is facing the House that will be dealt with fairly soon: the bill asking Members of the House to loan $5 million to Curragh for the stripping project in Faro.  As we all know, that particular project is not going to cost $10 million; the total amount is going to be in the neighbourhood of $60 million.  Unfortunately, the recent situation in Nova Scotia has obviously had some financial implications for the company — not just the results of the disaster that took place but also the financial implications on the market price and how it is going to affect the longevity of the company and its capability to finance such a project as the Faro mine and the stripping project.  I want to know from the Government Leader if he has had the opportunity to discuss at any length with any of the proponents of Curragh Inc. what their plans are in view of the situation that has taken place over the last couple of weeks.

Hon. Mr. Penikett:
I have been briefed on the question asked by the Member, by our Finance officials.  I have also had discussions with the vice-chair of the board for Curragh, Inc. and officials of the union representing the workers at Curragh on all of the concerns indicated by the Member.  The structure of the parent company is such that there is a financial relationship between the mine at Westray and the mine at Faro.  Within the next few hours, I will be endeavoring to determine the financial facts of that relationship.  While I believe that we have to be concerned about the potential effect on the Yukon, in the wake of this tragedy in Nova Scotia, I am told that there is no reason for great alarm given the nature of the obligations at Westray.  I understand that most of the liabilities of the mine at Westray are covered by government loan guarantees, and by the Province of Nova Scotia and the federal government.  Beyond the examination that I am going to be completing in the next few hours, we hope to have further discussions with the principals of the company shortly, although I should say to the Member that the express purpose of the senior officers in communicating with me was to calm any alarm or any potential fears about the implications of this tragedy that we might have in regard to Faro.

Mr. Lang:
I certainly hope that the Government Leader is correct and accurate about that.  One of the concerns that we have is that the company just sold some of its assets in Europe; therefore, the company had in the neighbourhood of $60 million available to it.  We were told by the witnesses that were here... that this money was very significant in the running of their company.  Is the Minister telling the House that the $60 million that the company acquired, through the sale of their assets, will not be directly affected by the disaster that was suffered in Nova Scotia?

Hon. Mr. Penikett:
The Opposition Leader is asking me about whether the disaster at Westray mine will have any impact on the use of the $60 million cash that Curragh, Inc. recovered from the sale of their shares in the Spanish smelter.  I am not in a position to competently give the Member any information about that.  I think the Member will understand that while we have communicated with officers of the company, everybody's mind over the last few days has been almost entirely concerned with the human tragedies at Plymouth.  It did not feel right at all last week to enter into detailed financial discussion.  I hope that we will have answers to those questions in the next little while.  I am not in a position to speak for the company at this point about the impact on the $60 million – or indeed, the company's overall financial position – of last week's tragedy.

Mr. Lang:
I appreciate that aspect of it.  That is one of the reasons we did not pursue it last week.  The fact is that we are dealing with a bill that is before Committee.  Some definitive decisions are going to have to be made very soon.  In view of what has taken place, and the uncertainty of it all, can we have an undertaking from the Government Leader that if Curragh, Inc. comes back to the government for financial assistance, over and above the $5 million that is being requested here, will he commit himself to calling back the Legislature prior to lending any more money, so that the public is fully aware of the facts and details of the financial arrangements...

[boldface emphasis added]






Saskatchewan Legislature, Regina
Hansard, 1992 May 19
     http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/hansard/22L2S/920519.pdf


Hon. Mr. Mitchell:
Mr. Speaker, thank you.  I rise today to make a statement on the tragic accident at the Westray mine in Plymouth, Nova Scotia.  The deaths of 26 men at the mine after an explosion believed to have been caused by methane gas on May 9 is a real tragedy for the families and residents of the Plymouth area.  The explosion is also a reminder of the dangers miners everywhere must deal with each day.  Mr. Speaker, I wish to offer my condolences to the families and friends of the 26 miners killed in the explosion, as well as commend the rescue teams who worked diligently to find the trapped men.  Rescue efforts did not end until it was clear there was no hope left for the remaining men trapped inside.  The loss of these miners is felt by all Canadians, but especially is felt by all Canadian miners, including those in Saskatchewan.  This province does not have underground coal mines, so a similar incident could not occur here.  But, Mr. Speaker, this province does have underground miners working in potash mines, uranium mines, and gold mines.  These miners are among those who will be hardest hit by this tragedy for they know the risks of working underground.  Again, Mr. Speaker, I wish to extend the condolences of this government to those who suffered the loss of loved ones and friends in the Westray accident.  I also wish to assure Saskatchewan miners that this government is committed to ensuring safety standards in provincial mines are not only high but also that those safety standards are properly met in every mine... Disasters such as the one which struck Plymouth can, we hope, be prevented in the future if we have a real commitment to work-place safety.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[boldface emphasis added]






Newfoundland Legislature, St. John's
Hansard, 1992 May 20
     http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/hansard/ga41session4/92-05-20.htm


Mr. Winsor, MLA for Fogo:
...Mr. Speaker, it is only fitting that we have an official day of mourning.  Whether the federal government has declared it, that does not mean that this Legislature cannot in this House take the resolution that the member had, and I will just read the 'be it resolved': "...that the House of Assembly supports the recognition and designation of the 28th day of April in each year as a 'Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace' and directs the Government to declare such day as an official day of mourning by such name without creating a legal holiday." Now that was a fairly simple, clear-cut resolution that should have been passed on the day prior to it.  Since then we have had some significant events that have happened.  As a matter of fact, two Newfoundlanders were among a list of people who just lost their lives in the Westray mining accident.  Two more Newfoundlanders, in that two that were native, and one who lived out of the Province at the time.  I do not think the third was a resident.  There were two, one from Triton and one from Daniel's Harbour, and one I think from the Bay d'Espoir area, but he was not now a resident of the Province.  Three totally, but two were actually residents of this Province.  Again pointing out the danger and the price that people have to pay who work in such areas.  My colleague for Grand Bank, who will speak in this debate later, I am sure he could tell many stories of people from the St. Lawrence area who have throughout the years lost their lives in the workplace...

Mr. Ramsay, MLA for LaPoile:
Mr. Speaker, my comments will be also extremely brief.  Representing a district which is the main ferry terminal I suppose for the Province, in Port aux Basques, a lot of workers from my own home town and the district in general, who have worked at the railway over the years and who have worked also with Marine Atlantic on the Marine Atlantic ferries, and other industries in the local area – fish plants, and fishermen, who have lost their lives.  I know a fisherman from one community in my district last year, just prior to Christmas, and also some others who were killed in a fishing accident.  So it is certainly a worthwhile measure, one which I support and endorse.  I offer congratulations to the hon. member on bringing this forward, so that now we can act on it and get on with the process of putting forward the right kinds of activities and educational programs that are necessary to make a day of remembrance something that works for the future, and hopefully in promoting better education for the workers of the Province.  Also something that will work well to see that those who have died in the line of duty – whether it be people who have died directly on the job or because of job related safety concerns – are remembered and that their death on the job will not be in vain.  I suppose the timing of this with the recent Westray mining disaster is something that we... it being so close to that, I guess, all of us have had our heart in our hands somewhat over the last couple of weeks, because of the intense feelings of families and the country as a whole, I suppose, with regards to occupational health and safety.  It is something that we should seek to rectify, any kind of – maybe search for the Utopia, as one member mentioned.  But at least keep striving towards a safer workplace for all workers on the job, and also better services to be offered for those who are left behind.  Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1992 May 21
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/27-legislature/session3/018_May_21_1992.html


Hon. Mr. Penikett:
I have given notice of an amendment that I intend to move in clause 1(1) with respect to the advice given to us by President Benner when he was here before Committee concerning the name of the company.  I would like to briefly review where we were when we went into Committee, and remind Members that this bill will give effect to our agreement to loan monies to Curragh Inc. for the purposes of stripping overburden for the Grum property at Faro.  In my remarks at second reading, I spoke at some length about the importance of this mine to our economy, and about the situation currently facing the company.  I will, therefore, not go into these matters in detail again.  In any event, Members of this House are already well aware of the issues at hand.  Without this loan, Curragh could not begin the stripping of the Grum ore body.  The cash reserves that the company currently enjoys must be retained to carry current operating losses and are not presently available for a capital program of this magnitude.  The $5 million that this government is proposing to loan Curragh, combined with the $5 million that they, themselves, will invest, will permit the stripping program to commence and carry on for approximately three months.  Clearly, more money will be required to complete the stripping of Grum.  It is fair to ask where the money will come from, as Members of this House have asked.  There are some encouraging signs in world metal prices.  Zinc is currently averaging several cents per pound more than anticipated at the beginning of the year.  Secondly, there has been some reduction in the value of the Canadian dollar.  It is too early to predict with any certainty whether these two trends will continue, but most forecasters expect they will.  If so, Curragh's cashflow will improve significantly, permitting them to begin to finance stripping out of their cash reserves.  Recently announced actual results for the company for the first quarter of this year seem to bear out the validity of these predictions.  Thirdly, we anticipate that this loan will be seen by the financial markets as a vote of confidence on behalf of the Legislature and the people of the Yukon in the Faro operation.  This may well improve Curragh's access to funds from these markets and permit the Grum stripping program to be financed in a more conventional manner.  The loan we are proposing to make is a call, or demand, loan.  This means that we can realize on it at any time.  Therefore, there is no fixed repayment schedule for the principal portion of the loan, but interest is payable on a monthly basis.  The loan bears interest at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce prime rate plus one-half of one percent.  In other words, the rate is one-half a percent higher than the rates at which the territorial government can borrow.  As yet, no monies have been advanced to Curragh.  We will make advances based upon invoices presented to us by Curragh for one-half of the expenses incurred in stripping the Grum ore body subsequent to March 30, 1992.  The security for this loan is the residual 35 percent of the value of Curragh's concentrate, inventories and accounts receivable.  Under normal circumstances, these values are far in excess of the amount we are loaning.  Curragh's bankers have the right to the first 65 percent of these inventories and receivables.  As a further element of the security arrangements we have negotiated with the company, the government can demand that Curragh immediately process the unprocessed stockpile of ore located at the Faro mill site.  We are confident that these security arrangements are more than adequate to protect our investment in the company, and they are, in any event, the best arrangements that we could obtain, given Curragh's highly leveraged financial position.  I will now try and answer any Member's question as briefly and succinctly as I can.

Mr. Lang:
I do not think the Minister has brought any new information to the House with respect to the situation that Curragh Inc. now faces.  The consequences of the tragedy at Westray are obviously going to have some implications.  My information is that the $25 million received from the sale of their assets in Europe is going to meet some of the financial demands put upon them because of the situation in Nova Scotia.  Can the Minister confirm if that is true?

Hon. Mr. Penikett:
The fact is that they received $60 million cash from the unwinding of their involvement in Asturiana de Zinc in Spain.  The Westray mine is also financed largely with federal loan guarantees and provincial loan guarantees.  There is a $25 million charge against Curragh if the Westray mine does not reopen.  The situation, in the simplest terms, is that, without the $60 million, they would have even less of it available for cashflow for operating purposes.  They would have only $35 million available.  If the Westray mine continues under any circumstances, the repayment of the loans against that property would be carried out over a longer term, over the life of the property, I expect.

Mr. Lang:
That, of course, leads to another question.  When the witness was here on behalf of Curragh, he made it very clear they not only looked at the dollars that were going to be made available through the winding up of their European asset, which was $60 million, but that Westray was a significant asset, as well.  That is now not the case.  We have a compounding situation here and I would be very surprised if that mine opens again.  Therefore, we can assume that the $60 million will be cut down to $35 million, and will be the money available for the day-to-day running of the organization.  This will affect the Yukon and Faro in particular.  The Minister indicated a couple of days ago that he may be in contact with some of the major players within that organization.  In view of the seriousness of the situation, could he update the House with what information was provided to him and how it is going to affect the Curragh mine?

Hon. Mr. Penikett:
I think the stated intention of the company is to reopen the mine in Nova Scotia.  The stated position of the Premier of Nova Scotia, though, is that that will not happen.  In my view, there is going to be a judicial enquiry into the tragedy.  The simple and only answer I can give is that, frankly, it is too soon to say; it is too soon yet following the tragedy for us to know with any certainty what is going to happen.  We have seen the impact on the price of Curragh shares — they have dropped in value as a result of the explosion and the deaths there.  Obviously, that will have some bearing on a decision to reopen the mine, or otherwise.  However, we have been clear from the beginning that the $5 million we proposed to loan and the $5 million Curragh is putting in was enough to start the stripping program.  We hope there will be, as the company calls it, private sector solutions to the problem of raising the other money, either from cashflows, improved zinc prices, lower Canadian dollar, et cetera.  The company also indicated that they are continuing to have discussions with the federal government.  If I may be permitted to express a political opinion on that, I would be very surprised if, in the wake of the accident, there were any new financial undertakings by the federal government until some findings have been made about the root causes and the responsibility for the accident a few days ago...

Hon. Mr. Penikett:
There are all sorts of discussions going on by the federal government.  Right now, most of the discussions going on with the federal government are about who knew what about safety problems at Westray, and who was responsible, et cetera.  As the Member knows, there will be a judicial inquiry.  I  do not have any special knowledge about those situations.  The Member is right about the $50 million that is required for the stripping program; but, the $50 million is over the two-year life of the program.  As Mr. Benner, I  thought, made clear to this House, Curragh is looking for a range of possible solutions to that problem, including the internal capacity of the company, if in fact it gets a break on zinc prices and the Canadian dollar, and if, as a result of our initiative, the lenders take another look at the situation.  The sale of Westray was a possibility, but as we discussed in the House, even in the current market, that was not seen as a highly likely proposition.  I  believe that the reality of the situation for the company now is that the only long-term potential and only immediate potential that Curragh has for success is with its Yukon assets – the two mines in the Yukon: Faro and Sa Dena Hes.  I  hope I  do not sound macabre when I  say this, but I  would think that Curragh would have an even greater interest in seeing success in its operations in the Yukon now than it ever did; I  think the life of the company depends upon it even more than the Yukon economy depends on it.  My view is that they have every interest, incentive and reason in the world to want to complete the stripping program to get to that new ore body, which Mr. Benner indicated is very high grade and high quality ore, so they can continue the life of the company and get it back into the black.

Mrs. Firth:
I  have some concerns about the financial position of Curragh, due to the Westray incident.  I  agree with the Government Leader that Curragh is going to need to keep the Faro mine going.  It is a good question to ask what is favourable now that was not favourable before when they were trying to get a loan.  I  think that things are even more unfavourable now, in light of what has happened.  There are two questions we have to ask.  Firstly, how are we going to ensure that our investment is protected?  I  know the Minister is going to say that it has been protected by having made this agreement and having access to the assets and so on.  In light of the financial position of Curragh Inc. being even shakier, I  think the chance of them coming back to the government and looking for further assistance is even greater now than it was before.  The witness could not say whether they would or not, but my guess would be that they will be approaching the government again, due to some of the reasons the Minister mentioned: they are going to want to keep that mine open, and the government also wants to keep the mine active, because of the people who are living in Faro.  Is the government currently reviewing this situation?  Are they looking at options?  Are they looking at long-term plans and options that they may have, and are they looking at fall-back positions?  Is the government trying to discuss this in Cabinet, or are they having any discussions or making any decisions with respect to what they may do, in the event that Curragh does come back and what kind of financial position we are in, in the event that they do need more money?

Hon. Mr. Penikett:
Yes, we are looking at all those situations very carefully.  Throughout these discussions, we have made it very clear to the company that, as important as that mine is to us, there are limits to what we, as a territorial government, can do.  That is why we are not involved in a more significant undertaking at this time.  After looking at the $60 million return from the sale of the Austriana de Zinc assets, Curragh has, let us say, $71 million.  Even if one assumes the worst-case scenario and the Westray mine shuts down, creating a $25 million charge against the Faro mine – they are separate companies, but are obviously linked by the same parent – they will have $46 million.  That, plus our $5 million, means they have $51 million.  This is most of the money that they need, if they did nothing else, to do the stripping program.  It is our view that, in addition to whatever money the bank is making available, the situation of the company right now makes it imperative that they do the stripping program.  Without it, there is only one year's worth of life left in the mine at Faro.  The mine, the town and the territory would suffer major consequences if it shuts down.  Now, how are we to protect our investment?  We believe the best way to protect the very considerable investment we already have in the community is by seeing the stripping program under way and completed, so that they have access to the new ore body as soon as possible, if they can get to it.  As to the question of their coming back: yes, it is possible, but Members have to understand that, in the discussions we have been having, we have had to be clear about what our limits are.  We cannot carry a $34 million loan guarantee or anything like that amount, for Curragh.  They understand that, and they understand our mutual interest, which is why, even given their tight circumstances, they put in $5 million from their scarce resources and we are loaning $5 million in order to get that program going so that we can actually get on to the next ore body and give the mine new life.  Everybody admits this is not sufficient to finish the stripping program; it is only enough to start it.  But even given the tragedy at Westray, that horrible event last week, there are, for the company, some good signs in terms of the price of zinc and the Canadian dollar.  The indicators on that front are a little better than we and they were anticipating back in January.  That is really the only answer I  can give to the Member.  Yes, they may be back; yes, they may be back to the federal government, but they certainly have not started to talk to us about anything new yet, because we have not even legislated this arrangement and we have not anticipated any such discussions...

[boldface emphasis added]






Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1992 June 4
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/3rd-35th/vol_79.html


Mr. Ashton, MLA for Thompson:
...I know in the case of Thompson over the years there has been a significant decrease in the number of fatal accidents, particularly serious accidents as well, particularly underground, because of some of the programs that have been put in place there, some initiated by the company, some by the union, some joint programs.  I have seen that difference and I do have a very serious concern about the city.  I am not saying that it is deliberate, but I am saying it is a different mentality in some operations in the city, in the sense that there can be – I do not know how to phrase this, I do not want to seem to be unfair to everyone, I am not trying to cast aspersions on a whole group of people, but it is all too easy to say, oh, well, that is the risk of the job.  I suppose that is what they said at Westray in Nova Scotia for many years, that is the risk of being a coal miner.  But there are many industrial plants in Winnipeg where it is a risk of the job, and if someone is hurt, or if someone does die, it is not your neighbour, it is not someone you know, and it does not impact the same way in terms of the company or people in the workplace generally.  So I raise that concern.  I realize inspections are only a small part of this, and I think that changing attitudes is the even bigger question.  I do not believe that changes in Workers Compensation rates, experienced rating and what not is in any way, shape or form going to do anything of that nature.  In fact I would really put this on the record more of a concern.  I am not, once again even criticizing the minister, but I really believe that particularly in the city there needs to be – perhaps using the example, and I do use Thompson as example, of what I have seen there.  I actually first worked at Inco 20 years ago, my first summer job when I was 16.  I remember the attitudes towards safety and health in those days.  I remember the big fight over whether to wear safety glasses or not.  A lot of people viewed that as a major infringement on their personal freedom and liberty.  Believe you me, it caused as much commotion within the union when a lot of people found that the union was supporting that because it was safe.  So it has come a long way from there to today where safety procedures are much greater...

[boldface emphasis added]






British Columbia Legislature, Victoria
Hansard, 1992 June 19
     http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/35th1st/h0619am.htm

Miners' Memorial Day

H. Lali:
It is with pleasure that I make my first member's statement on the topic of Miners' Memorial Day.  I would like to commence by quoting from the Princeton and district Miners' Memorial Day program:

"On May 9, 1992, just before dawn, a thunderous methane explosion roared through Westray's Plymouth, Nova Scotia, underground workings, killing 26 miners.  For six long, agonizing days Canada watched and waited, clinging to the hope that some might be found alive.  The nation's hearts were one with the families whose fathers, husbands, sons, brothers and uncles would not be coming home.  This year Miners' Memorial Day is dedicated to the Westray miners who died, those who risked their lives in search of their brothers, to their families and to the people of Plymouth, Nova Scotia.  May the memory of their tragedy make us more vigilant so others may live."


Before I delve into Miners' Memorial Day any further, I would like to talk briefly about the history of mining and miners, and their impact upon British Columbia...

[boldface emphasis added]






Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1992 June 24
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/3rd-35th/vol_93.html


Mr. Ashton, MLA for Thompson:
...The people are always right.  The Conservative government may be wrong, but the people are always right.  So why can they be right in their political lives but not in their economic lives?  That is what I say.  This is what this debate is all about.  It is what it represents more than the immediate day-to-day accomplishments.  This represents the same attitudes of the 1919 General Strike, when we saw the people opposite in this same Chamber, I am sure, only a few years later, when this Chamber was opened, make the same kind of speeches.  I could hear those echoes increasingly as this government entrenches itself, increasingly puts itself in a bunker, where it listens to increasingly few Manitobans and increasingly only the Chambers of Commerce and those that are its closest supporters.  We are seeing it increasing.  We have seen the same attitudes even after the recognition of the right to collective bargaining in the 1940s.  We have seen it.  I put this in context as of a recent example of how that continues.  I could cite cases in Manitoba, but I want to cite a case in Nova Scotia, the Westray Mine.  Mr. Speaker, that was not a unionized facility.  Many questions have been raised about what occurred at that mine with the tragic deaths that took place.  They have labour legislation very similar to what this province is moving toward.  They have no automatic certification.  It is very difficult for people to organize; we have seen the Michelin organizing drives fall.  Indeed, the irony is that the Westray Mine may now unionize after it has closed, because I know many people are considering that.  I cannot help but wonder, if those people had been represented by that union, by a union, if they had been at the table with the employers, might not that have been avoided.  That is why this bill is so important.  It is the right of miners, such as the Westray miners, to say yes to a union if they wish.  It is the right of employees here in Manitoba, whatever area of the province, to say yes to a union, to bargain for wages and working conditions, in some cases to bargain for the very existence of the kind of safety and health measures that are necessary to preserve their own lives.  That is what unions are about, by the way.  That is all they represent.  People talk about big unions.  Unions are democratic organizations made up of people.  I say, the government has accomplished one thing today passing this bill, but they are accomplishing very little because what they represent is a throwback to those days decades ago when people did have to fight for the right to collective bargaining.  They did have to be subjected to coercion and intimidation in the workplace...

[boldface emphasis added]






Alberta Legislature, Edmonton
Hansard, 1992 July 2
     http://www.assembly.ab.ca/Documents/isysquery/c5c05753-3d5e-4124-92c6-cc43a67b2e40/1/doc/


Mr. Gibeault (Edmonton-Mill Woods):
... We know, Mr. Speaker, about that terrible mine disaster just recently, the Westray Mine in Nova Scotia.  Surely all of us here must be concerned that we don't have a repetition of any sort of disaster like that in Alberta.  We're a coal producing province here, and we have to be very concerned about the status of mine safety.  That was the intent of this motion for a return: that we get these inspection reports for the last three years from these respective mines so that we can be assured, so that all Albertans can be assured that an adequate level of safety is maintained at the major coal mines in the province.  I would like some explanation from the government as to why these reports are not forthcoming...

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1992 August 24
     http://www.ontla.on.ca/committee-proceedings/transcripts/files_html/1992-08-24_r026.htm#P166_28716


Standing Committee on Resources Development

Labour Relations and Employment Statute Law
Amendment Act,
1992


Mr. Stephen Owens (Scarborough Centre):
In my family, my father's side was born just south of North Bay in Powassan and migrated to the great northern city of North Bay.  They've lived there all their lives.  In speaking to them, they are actually quite pleased that this legislation is coming through.  They are working people like yourselves who have certainly benefited from the availability of the collective agreements.  The previous presenter talked about the fact that if the legislation is passed and workplaces become further unionized, there's going to be an erosion of the social services we have in place now.  It's my view that it's been as a result of unionization that we have had the good level of social services and the kinds of benefits that unions advocate for.  Could you give me your opinion on that?

Mr. Art Campbell, president of the North Bay and District Labour Council:
Yes.  The speaker before me said that 60% of non-union workplaces don't reach full potential because they're not unionized.  Let me give you a good example of what happens in a non-unionized shop, and I'm sure everybody's well aware of this: the Westray mine in Nova Scotia where 26 miners lost their lives.  If there had been a union in place there, I can tell you right now that those 26 miners would still be alive today.

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1992 December 17
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session1/004_Dec_17_1992.html


Mr. Harding:
...The people in Faro want to see action on the situation regarding Curragh in the territory.  They are extremely concerned about the situation regarding Curragh.  Here we have a company that operates two mines in the territory, and granted it is not the most popular company in the world.  However, Curragh contributes between 20 to 30 percent of the territorial economy in terms of revenue and income to the territory.  Yet, all that we have heard from the other side of the House is that they have gone to lobby the feds.  We have met with Mr. Siddon, but Mr. Siddon, of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, has not really had much time for us... Faro is a major contributor to this territory.  Without those two mines, any plans the government has planned mean nothing – and some of them are good plans and I want to see them come to fruition; if good things are brought before the Legislature they will certainly have my support.  Faro is operating right now.  No four-year plan, which is beginning to fall to pieces, as I have seen it – however, there are some items in it that I would like to see go ahead – is going to work without the continued operation of those mines.  You cannot diversify when your base is being destroyed at the same time.  It is not going to work.  The people in Faro want to see some action.  So far, we have had nothing from this territorial government, the new territorial government, with regard to upfront commitment to Curragh Resources.  They have stated in the House, which was somewhat news to us, that Curragh has not requested any financial assistance from them.  I drew the conclusion from that, that they have asked the government to assist them as a lobby group to the federal government, because that is basically what the Hon. Government Leader has said has been done.  Certainly I would like to see more in the way of leadership from them.

I would like to see commitment to the project.  I want to see commitment to the project from Curragh Resources as well.  I want to see commitment from them in terms of the cash that they can provide to the project, and that they try to sell off the assets that they perhaps have now as a result of investing in other areas of the country and other areas of the world that they could invest into the project, because I do not believe that taxpayers' money should be spent to support the private-sector when private sector operators, such as Curragh, have the money to do the job themselves.  The investigation must be thorough before taxpayers' money is invested in the project, but nonetheless we are facing a very serious situation that demands and requires economic leadership.  There are people and families in Faro who have made an investment in this territory.  We do not get a lot of respect in this territory from a lot of people.  When I come into Whitehorse, a lot of times there are a lot of comments like, "Oh, you are from Faro".  We really get the feeling in Faro that a lot of people do not consider us to be – to use the words of the other side – "real Yukoners".  Sometimes it becomes very frustrating because we do contribute heavily to this Yukon economy and the territory and we love to be here.  I would live in no other place but the Yukon Territory, and there are many other Faroites who feel the same way.

We certainly want to make an investment in this territory.  A lot of people in Faro have come from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Alberta, some were born right here in the Yukon.  They have moved their families and belongings and some of them have spent $15,000 moving to the Yukon, because they want to make an investment.  They made an investment in Curragh Inc. Curragh has made an investment and they have made a return investment with their lives.  These families do not know what is going on.  Curragh has been very quiet and this government has been very quiet.  So far, all they have done is to paint a gloom-and-doom picture and said they would like to bail Curragh out, to use the words of the Government Leader, but they do not have the money.  Under the present financing agreement – and this will open up a whole new can of worms – as I understand it, if the situation at Faro worsens and we lose jobs there, there is a potential for the economy to go down in terms of revenues and dollars that are generated into the territorial coffers and the formula financing for the territory can go up.

People in Faro do not look at it in terms of that simple equation for the territory.  They look at it in terms of the investment they have made in the territory and in Curragh, and they want some action by government to keep people working here.  Talk about a false economy.  We have people working here right now, in Faro, who are interested in turning their disposable income into purchases within the Whitehorse and Yukon communities.  We do it all the time.  I hear it all the time.  People say that every trip to Whitehorse is $1,000 minimum.  When they come into Whitehorse, they usually stay in hotels or at friends' places, they go out to a nice restaurant for dinner – not that there are not nice restaurants in Faro – no disrespect to Mr. Byblow – get their hair done – although we have a couple of fine barbers and hairdressers in Faro, but it is a change of pace to come to Whitehorse.  All this disposable income is collected here by the businesses who thrive off it... The business people in Faro are very concerned, like the rest of the citizens in Faro.  These people have made investments in capital expenditures, projects and undertakings – some as recently as the election, such as the candidate who ran against me.  He was building some office space to rent.  I can only imagine what is going through his head as he hears the news roll off the lips of the Government Leader that he does not really have a lot of money now and he has not been asked for any assistance from Curragh, but yet he is trying to get a meeting with Mazankowski.  Whether or not that is going to come to fruition is irrelevant.  I would like to see some leadership from this government.  I would like them to raise the stakes, as it were, and say "here is what we are prepared to commit to this project".

Of course, accompanied with that has to be a full disclosure by Curragh of exactly what their situation is, the potential of selling certain assets that are really not that crucial right now to the Faro project.  Make no mistake about it, the Faro project is the cash cow that drives that company.  Without Faro, without the Grum stripping project being completed, it is dead and history.  So is Watson Lake and any development of a northern British Columbia project.  I am really not concerned with that project at this time, but I think that in future if that company can recover, it certainly would not be bad to create some jobs in northern British Columbia.  First and foremost it all comes home and I have to ensure that things are getting taken care of in my riding.

I asked the Government Leader yesterday in Question Period why he did not see fit to respond to my letter.  I presumed from the answer that he had not received my letter and I felt, especially as a new Government Leader and new Member, that, as an act of courtesy and good faith, he would have either, if he received the letter and knew about it, responded quickly to it, or given me a briefing, some discussion or consultation as to what is going to happen in Faro.

That has not happened.  It is very discouraging.  Even though I am a new Member, I am responsible for the people in that riding.  They ask me questions.  When I go home, people ask me about what is happening in the House and with Curragh.  They ask what is happening with this new government, and point out that they did not run a candidate in this riding and that they do not care about Faro.  I hope these sentiments are not true.  I really do.  We have been working, since 1985, to build a strong community in Faro.  We have done it in partnership with the government.  It took a lot of work to get that mine reopened... They have also said that they have not been asked for financial assistance.  They said they have asked for meetings with the feds and they have not gotten them.  It is no secret that the federal government's response to Curragh Inc. is not going to be a favourable one.  Twenty-six miners died on May 9, 1992, at Westray, which is owned by Curragh Inc.  It is a political nightmare for the Tories.  Their response is going to take some real work.  It would be appreciated if the people on that side of the House would be involved in that process, because it is not going to be an easy one... Perhaps that raises the stakes so the federal government will have to give more consideration to the requests and the demands of Curragh Resources.  I know quite a bit about Curragh, and even though they have not officially asked for financial assistance from the government, as the Hon. Government Leader said, I get the inkling that if some was offered, Clifford Frame might take it.  I do not know.  He has taken it in the past, I do believe.  One thing that really has not been talked about a lot, and I think that it is something that should be said, is that it is another economic leadership issue.  I think that in view of what has happened with Curragh Incorporated in the past – their corporate record, corporate performance and the public's perception of Curragh – it makes it much more difficult to extract what is needed to keep this project going.  I do think that there are some innovative and progressive things in terms of leadership that the government can do to try and generate a better feeling in the Yukon.  Even in the Yukon, there are people who balk at that type of assistance for Curragh based on their record, but some things can be done to create an environment so that perhaps more people would be amenable to the suggestion of taxpayers' dollars going to keep people working in the Yukon.  That is what it means to me; it certainly is not about keeping Clifford Frame in a job and on his ranch.  I know that he can retire now; he would be happy and set up for the rest of his life.  This is about the people who live in Faro and the people who live in the rest of the Yukon and the jobs.  It is as simple as that.

I think that the government has to show leadership and they have to say, "Let us take a look at what happened to Curragh in the past.  If they want taxpayers' dollars, we are going to have to spice up that agreement so that we can get some assurances from Curragh Inc. that they are going to be good corporate citizens and that they are not going to kill Yukoners." These are progressive thoughts – and I am sure that the Members on the side opposite are not really too keen on this type of idea, but I think that that is the type of thinking, and that is the type of vision it is going take to pull this thing off.  The priority is jobs and we have to keep them, but we also have to convince the people of the Yukon and the people of Canada, if the federal government is involved, that it is a good thing.  The federal government is going to go through an election in the next year and people are going to ask many, many serious questions about helping Curragh Incorporated... Well, we will see what the record of the government is as they move on.  If Curragh goes down, we certainly will have something to point to in terms of your economic record and I do not think that will be a good move for the people of the Yukon.  Again, I have to point to the gloom-and-doom approach and what it does for the investment climate, not only in terms of private sector investment in the territory, but the attitude of the people of the territory who really count.  What are they going to say?  The Hon. Government Leader has boxed himself into a corner so badly with this political audit; how hard is it for him now to give support to Curragh that they need so that they can keep those jobs in the Yukon and strip that Grum deposit?

The Government Leader says there is no money, but the cold, hard reality is that that mine has got to stay operating.  The Government Leader has got to find that money.  So, when the Government Leader comes up with that money the people are going to say, "Where did he come up with that money; he said we were broke?" The truth is the money was there all along.  You just have to manage the money and find it.  That is part of being government.  It is going to happen in the private sector and it is going to happen with government.

I was thinking about an analogy before, and it is similar to when Curragh managers – whom I am never going to profess to be the smartest group of managers in the world – sit down at the beginning of the year, they do their budgeting and forecasting, and try to determine what is going to happen for the year.  They do the best job they can at it.  Along the way, during the year, things happen.  There are overruns in some areas, shovels break down, mills go off their bearings, there is down time they did not anticipate, and there are forest fires between Faro and Carmacks.

However, the thing they do not do – based on extrapolations on what has happened as a result of things that have happened during the year – is forecast a $700 million loss at the end of the year.  What they do is they manage.  They say, okay, we have to trim a little here, invest a little bit there, this department did not spend so much, so we have to take that money and put it toward this, which needs more as a result of what happened.  They do not just sit there and say it is all over but the crying, there is nothing there, we might as well shut the mine down.  That is basically what we have heard from the other side: "we are broke; we would like to bail Curragh out, but we cannot because we have no money." The Government Leader says, "I am going to go to see Mazankowski and, if he lets me into a meeting, perhaps we will get something." That is not leadership... A bill on the Liquor Corporation was brought in.  I understand the reasoning behind that, but, my goodness, when you have the Taga Ku, Curragh Inc., the Whitehorse Hospital and real jobs on the line that affect real people, this government has to show economic leadership.  Let us stop whining about what was left to us – because it is not a bad situation – let us stop trying to cover our political buns and let us get on with the business of governing the Yukon and investing in the people who have come here to invest their lives in the territory.  The people of the Yukon deserve that from this government.  They wanted to be elected and now they should manage the money that the government has, put people to work and keep people working.

Hon. Mr. Devries, Minister of Government Services:
I would like to speak against the amendment.  When I heard the Member, I could not help but think that, thank goodness, we finally have somebody who is smart over there.  I could not believe it.  I feel like writing Brian Mulroney and saying, "Brian, we have a genius here; he knows it all.  He has the answer to every question and every problem that you have."  We have a person here who has been here exactly six weeks, and he claims to be an expert.  I have been four years, and I can assure you that I am not an expert, but I am giving it the best shot I can.  The Member went on and on about Faro.  I am from Watson Lake, and I also realize how important Curragh is to the community of Watson Lake.  The enterprise prior to this one that was attempted there was not too successful.  We all had high hopes in the Sa Dena Hes operation.  I believe that we still have a good little mine there, but we do have a problem.  I assure everyone here that we are doing everything we possibly can to resolve that problem.  There is no easy answer.

I think the Member for Faro touched on it several times when he brought up Curragh Inc. and the bad taste that the name has left in people's mouths, due to the situation at Westray.  I was hoping the Member would come up with some very good ideas.  He hinted at a few things.  I am very disappointed that the Member has not phoned me and come over with some suggestions.  It seems that, so far, all he has chosen to do is talk to me through the newspaper.  I do not think the way to be an MLA is by going to the newspapers and trying to negotiate through that means... I can assure everyone that I am very concerned about it, and we are doing everything humanly possible to see that it is resolved.  The Member seemed to go around and around.  First, he says that, from his colleagues, there should be lots of money, and we should be able to just pick up some of this money and help Curragh.  The next minute, he says that we should not bail them out.  A few minutes later, he says that we should re-priorize our finances so that we can help Faro, because there is tight money.  Where is he really coming from?  I would love to be able to stand here and say that there are a lot of easy answers on how we can help Faro, but there are none.  There are ongoing discussions between the owners of Curragh Inc. I am sure that, once we or they have something to announce, everyone here will be hearing about it at the same time through a news release, or whatever...

[boldface emphasis added]





 

1993






Alberta Legislature, Edmonton
Hansard, 1993 February 4
     http://www.assembly.ab.ca/Documents/isysquery/c5c05753-3d5e-4124-92c6-cc43a67b2e40/2/doc/


Mr. Stockwell Day, Minister of Labour:
Mr. Speaker, I move that the motions for returns on today's Order Paper stand and retain their places with the exception of the following, which would be motions for returns 375, 380, 381, and 382.
[Motion carried]

Mine Inspection Reports
375.   Mr. Gibeault moved that an order of the Assembly do issue for a return showing all mine inspection reports carried out by the department of occupational health and safety from the 1988 to 1991 calendar years inclusive respecting the Grande Cache, Cardinal River, and Star-Key coal mines.


Mr. Gibeault (Edmonton-Mill Woods):
Mr. Speaker, after almost a year of nonresponse from the government in asking for this information, I hope that today we might get it.  Just to remind the members after such a long delay, the reason we asked for this information was: members may recall a mining disaster last year in the Westray Mine in Nova Scotia.  Of course it was the concern of members of the New Democratic caucus in any event.  We wanted to ensure that such a disaster would not be possible to happen in Alberta.  We wanted to make sure that every possible effort was being made in terms of health and safety reports, procedures, what have you, to make sure that we had safe mining practices in the province of Alberta.  It's an important industry in our province, an important contribution to the economy in this province.  Many Albertans earn their livelihoods in the mining industry.  It's very important that miners, their families, and the people of Alberta have confidence that the best and most complete safety programs are in place to ensure that we do not have such a horrible disaster as occurred at the Westray Mine in Nova Scotia.  Even though it's a year late, I'm looking forward to a positive reply from the minister.

Mr. Day:
Mr. Speaker, I share the member opposite's concerns for safety in the workplace.  It's a priority of this government and this minister.  I don't know about a year's delay.  I've only been responsible for this for a few days here in the House, and I'm happy to accept this.

Mr. Speaker:
Thank you.  Call for the question?

Hon. Members:
Question.
[Motion carried]

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1993 March 15
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session1/005_Mar_15_1993.html


Mr. Penikett, Leader of the Official Opposition:
I would like to give notice of the following motion:
    THAT it is the opinion of this House that the government of Yukon conditions for the Curragh loan guarantee must be tough but realistic, and
    THAT the Government of Yukon must show fiscal and economic leadership when they negotiate these conditions with Curragh in order to protect the taxpayers and ensure the security of the jobs in Faro...

Speaker:
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to the Question Period.



Question Period


Question re: Curragh lnc., financial assistance


Mr. Penikett:
In the Taga Ku case, the government strung developers along until their financing was in place and then killed the project.  What assurances can the Government Leader give that the government is not playing the same game with the people of Watson Lake and Faro, and that the conditions he has published for the loan guarantee with Curragh Resources will be negotiated in good faith?

Hon. Mr. Devries, Minister of Economic Development:
I would like to respond to the Member for Whitehorse West on the first part of his question.  The Taga Ku project is not dead.  We did not string the Taga Ku people along.  If the Taga Ku people decide to go ahead with the project, we would still be in a position to rent that space, providing they meet the original tender specifications.  I can assure the Leader of the Official Opposition that we are not leading the people of Faro and Watson Lake on, that the conditions we have attached to the Curragh loan are in the best interests of all Yukon people, which includes the people of Faro and Watson Lake.

Mr. Penikett:
I would like to direct my supplementary to the Minister of Finance.  Based on what conversations with Curragh's bankers does he believe that the lenders owed hundreds of millions of dollars are willing to back off in favour of a Government of Yukon guarantee for $30 million?  In other words, what specific indications, from which bank officials, make him think this condition is realistic and attainable?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek, Minister of Finance:
As the hon. Member is fully aware, to support the Curragh operation with the $29 million loan guarantee by the Government of Yukon was a very serious decision this administration had to make.  We realize the importance of the Faro operation to the economy of the Yukon and know the burden that would be placed on all Yukoners if this operation were not to survive.  By the same token, we had to take every precaution so that the taxpayers of the Yukon would have some good security in the unfortunate event this loan was ever called.  I would like to further point out to the Member opposite that this is a tremendous undertaking by the Government of the Yukon and we have to go it alone, with no help from the federal government.

Mr. Penikett:
With respect, the Minister did not answer my question.  All Members of this House, I am sure, want to see conditions that are tough but realistic.  I would like the Government Leader, in his capacity as Minister of Finance, to tell me if he is aware of any instance, since the beginning of Canadian Confederation, where a Canadian chartered bank, accommodating a financially troubled client with short-term borrowings, has ever voluntarily relinquished its collateral position to another party.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
On the best information we have available to us, the terms and conditions we put forward for the Curragh loan guarantee are normal business practices.  On many occasions, when new money is being asked for by a troubled company, one of the conditions put forward is that their security take prior position to the security that is already in place.  If the Curragh operation was to go down, the bankers and the note holders have a tremendous amount of money at stake that they would lose.  The Government of Yukon has said that it believes in this operation and is prepared to put forward $30 million of the taxpayers' money, but that money has to be protected...



Question re: Curragh Inc., financial assistance


Mr. Penikett:
I am very interested in seeing our money protected, as I am interested in seeing our economy protected and the jobs of people in Faro and Watson Lake.  For the record, since the Government Leader has implied that some of his 14 conditions are negotiable and some may not be, could he tell the House exactly which conditions are negotiable or, if he prefers, which ones are not?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
If I had wanted to make that information public, I would have done so when I held the press conference.  The 14 conditions were put on for very specific reasons.  The terms on that loan were well thought out.  Now, it is in the process of negotiation between our negotiators, Burns Fry Ltd., and the Curragh people.  Some conditions are negotiable to some extent; some are not.  I do not want to get into the detail of each one, because that is what the negotiation is all about.

Mr. Penikett:
I am not sure how a company is supposed to negotiate with the government when they do not know which ones are negotiable and which are not.  They should be beware of the Ides of March, as should we all.  Given the full dimensions of the Curragh crises, and given that they were known well before Christmas, and given that hundreds of workers and their families have suffered great hardship and uncertainty in the meantime, why did the Government Leader wait until last week, the beginning of March, to being negotiating with Curragh in earnest?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
Mr. Speaker, I guess I could refer that question back to the Hon. Leader of the Official Opposition.  The former administration knew a year ago that Curragh was in trouble.  Mr. Speaker, they also knew at that time that $5 million would not save that operation, yet felt well-justified in providing a $5 million loan guarantee so that Curragh could keep on working until after the general election that was called in October and would not have to face the music.  Mr. Speaker, we started negotiations in December.  At that time we were working on the same basis as the previous administration in trying to get the federal government in on it.  The federal government came back to us in early January and said they wanted to do some studies prior to making a commitment.  We went along with that and cost shared those studies with the federal gvernment.  Along with that, we were waiting for information from Curragh's year-end report.  That, Mr. Speaker, is why it took so long to get this deal together.

Mr. Penikett:
Neither in 1985 nor in 1982 did the previous government hesitate for a minute to begin negotiations, but I would like to ask the Minister of Finance, given what is at stake for the Yukon in these delicate negotiations, why did he refer to Curragh's potential bankruptcy in an interview with the Globe and Mail last week, a remark so careless that is was bound to cause Curragh problems in financial markets just as it seeks private sector solutions to its problems?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
Well, Mr Speaker, I would disagree with the Hon. Leader of the Opposition that the remark was careless when the fact that Curragh was on the verge of bankruptcy has been published in financial journals all winter.  We just stated the case as to why we had to have security.  We want to see that operation survive, Mr. Speaker.  It is a known fact, by Curragh's own year-end books, that $29 million will not save that company.  They have to be able to raise equity from some other sources...



Question re: Curragh Inc., financial assistance


Mr. Harding, MLA for Faro:
I have a question for the Government Leader or his designate.  I first wrote the government requesting action on the Curragh situation in November of 1992.  The Government Leader subsequently committed to my community, on January 21, that he would have an agreement in principle ready to sign with Curragh once the Burns Fry report came in.  Yet, the government did not even make its offer known to Curragh until March 4.  My community has been in turmoil for months.  Could the Government Leader please tell the House why he has taken so long to act with any kind of economic leadership.

Hon. Mr. Devries:
I would like to thank the Member for Faro for his question.  As he very well knows, we had to await the results of the Burns Fry report.  We had to negotiate with Curragh; Curragh was very slow in coming forward with information on which we could develop some basis for negotiation.  Basically, that is what it boiled down to; we were not getting the cooperation from Curragh that we needed.  We had to wait for the Burns Fry report and, subsequently, as soon as we had the opportunity to get something together properly, we presented it to the Faro people.

Mr. Harding:
From my point of view, there is no reason that the Burns Fry favourable response could not have been condition number 15.  Anyway, given that my community has waited for months to see if this problem could be resolved, could the Government Leader please tell me when he will establish his bottom line on the negotiable and non-negotiable conditions so that Faro can have some idea whether or not they are realistic conditions.

Hon. Mr. Devries:
The Member for Faro very well knows that when one is negotiating, one does not indicate to the company one is negotiating with what is negotiable and what is not, because that is used as a tactic to try to resolve the matter.  We cannot disclose that at this time, because it is part of the overall game plan to play the same game with them that they have been playing with us all along.

Mr. Harding:
The Government Leader has stated that Curragh must solve their working capital deficiency problems to remain viable.  How can Curragh do this when there is consideration of a 33 percent rise in their electrical costs, as well as cost increases to consumers?  Where does the government stand on these proposed increases in power rates to businesses and consumers?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:
Firstly, it is important to point out that the government has taken an arm's-length relationship in respect to the Public Utilities Board recommendation that came down some time ago, and with respect to the response of the Yukon Energy Corporation.  The Utilities Board was the body that recommended that Curragh should be paying the actual cost.  The Energy Corporation responded to the decision of the Utilities Board.  This government does intend to review the whole situation surrounding industrial users of electricity and the rates and/or, at the same time, review the possibility of subsidies to certain classes of rate payers.  This will take some time to do and would require, in the natural course of events, some direction to be given to both the board and the Yukon Energy Corporation.  It is under active review, and it will take some time to resolve...



Question re: Energy cost increases


Mrs. Firth:
Yukoners are again facing increased costs for electrical power.  I know many people who have come to me with concerns understand that this is partly due to the equalization costs, which will make it effective that all customers will pay for the cost of service.  A lot of Yukoners are finding that their bills have been increasing by as much as 30, 40 or 50 percent over the last couple of years. Since neither the Yukon Energy Corporation nor the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. have undertaken any major new additions or upgrades, such as the development of a new hydro project, could the Minister responsible for the Yukon Energy Corporation tell us why the costs have increased so much?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:
I am told that there are two main reasons for the increase.  One has to do with the fact that last year was a bonus year in terms of water, and this year they anticipate the draw down, particularly Aishihik Lake, to continue as it was before last year's plenitude of rain and snow.  Therefore, there is going to be more cost attributed to diesel.  The second reason has to do with a lot of the upgrading that the corporations have been doing to existing equipment.  The cost of upgrading equipment already on the line – for example, the Whitehorse Hydro Dam – has been considerable.  It is foreseen that this cost will continue in the future.  These announced rate increases will have to be defended before the Public Utilities Board, we will be taking a keen interest in the validity of the proposals.  I am assured that they were necessary.

Mrs. Firth:
We heard that explanation on the radio this morning.  Have the costs to operate and manage the Yukon Energy Corporation and the Yukon Electrical Company been examined with the potential of cost-cutting measures, such as the government may be pursuing to give some relief to Yukon electrical consumers?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:
Certainly, those issues are under review.  The hon. Member must recognize that the bulk of the cost is the cost of service supplied to the Yukon Energy Corporation by the Yukon Electrical Company Ltd. under an existing contract.

Mrs. Firth:
I am aware of that.  Since the Minister again mentions a review, could he give us some detail as to exactly how he is reviewing the performance and the function of the Yukon Energy Corporation and the Yukon Electrical Company?  When will the review, regarding the industrial users and potential subsidies to classes of certain users, be completed?  Will it be in time for the deadline that Curragh is facing?

Hon. Mr. Phelps:
With respect to the Cabinet reviewing and looking at implementing a new policy with respect to special treatment for industrial users such as Curragh, I am not exactly sure when that will be ready for release.  It is a fairly high priority, given the stated agenda of this government, made public by the Government Leader in recent speeches – for example, to the Rotary Club on Friday.  I think Yukon consumers must realize that Curragh was heavily subsidized by other electrical consumers over the previous years, and the announced increase is intended to bring them up reasonably close to paying for their actual cost of energy.  That was something that was in the works before we took office; it was a decision rendered by the Public Utilities Board, and it was a decision to announce these increases made by the board of directors of the YDC and the YEC, which, again, was independent of government.  I anticipate that, within the next three months, we will be able to announce something that will be of benefit to all new industrial users who might be thinking of coming to the Yukon...



Question re: Curragh Inc., financial assistance


Mr. Penikett:
I am glad there is time, because I have many more questions I want to ask the Minister of Finance about the Curragh loan guarantee conditions.  Point 12 in the government's list of conditions suggests that Sa Dena Hes has to be re-opened on terms satisfactory to the government.  It is an excellent idea, but I am curious as to how Curragh can possibly negotiate this condition if they do not know what the government's terms are.  Can the Government Leader advise the House what the satisfactory terms might be?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
As we said, there is some negotiation to go on with Curragh.  To answer the Member opposite's question, we have fully briefed Burns Fry on what we are looking for.  They will be conducting negotiations on behalf of the government, and they are in touch with our officials on a daily basis.

Mr. Penikett:
I would like to ask a question, also, about another condition, that the government wishes to have two observers, not board members, at Curragh's meetings of its directors.  Since, of course, if the government had such representation, we would want to ask questions in this House.  I am wondering if the government has had any legal advice about potential liabilities accruing to the Government of Yukon in respect to persons present at board meetings and their limitations with respect to dissemination of insider information as spelled out in various security laws of Ontario and Canada.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
Certainly, we have had legal advice about having observers on Curragh's board of directors.  It is based on that legal advice that we did not ask Curragh about our appointing two members to their board because of certain liabilities that are incurred by board members.  The government's position is that we just want to be assured that we know what is going on.  We felt that the best way to do that was to have a couple of observers sit on the board.  It does not seem that Curragh has any difficulty with that request.

Mr. Penikett:
Of course, the Opposition shares the government's desire to know what is going on.  I would like to ask the government about one of the other conditions that requires Curragh Resources to violate a legal contract with its own employees.  I would like to ask if it is now the policy of this government to require a company to break a contract with one supplier of goods and services or labour if the government dictates that another party must benefit, or if this will only happen when there is some crass political advantage for the government...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1993 March 17
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session1/007_Mar_17_1993.html


Mr. Penikett, Leader of the Official Opposition:
...We actually had the Minister of Economic Development say to us yesterday, in probably one of the most astonishing statements I have heard for years in this House, that Curragh Resources did not understand its financial position.  Curragh Resources, headed by Clifford Frame — no matter you may think of him — who has been running mines for a long time and has been involved in many multi-million dollar projects and some quite fascinating transactions in many parts of this country, does not understand the company he operates; that John Turner, a director of the corporation, a former Prime Minister of Canada, a big-time Bay Street corporate lawyer and former Finance Minister of Canada, does not understand Curragh Resources' finances; that Ralph Sultan, another director, a former Professor at Harvard Business School, a former Senior Vice-President of the Royal Bank of Canada, does not understand Curragh Resources; but good old boy, John Devries, from Watson Lake, does.  Let us get serious here...

Mr.  Benner sat there in the witness chair on Thursday afternoon; that Saturday, we saw him on television, speaking on behalf of the company, as that awful tragedy happened in Nova Scotia.  What became clear once the Westray disaster happened was that the federal government was not going to touch this company with a 10-foot pole...

Oh, I am listening to the public.  I was out last night talking to people in the public.  They are absolutely staggered; people are worried sick about whether they are going to be able to pay their rent next week, whether or not they are going to have a job.  They are not laughing, they are not sitting there smugly snickering away about what a great deal this is, saying, "boy oh boy, we really showed those guys, pretty cool conditions, we really showed those city slickers from Toronto."  People are laughing at you, but they are crying, they are worried sick about what is going on – worried sick.  And that is not just the supporters of my party.  I go into the supermarket and small business owners come up to me and say, "What in heaven is going on, Tony." And I say, "I am sorry, I wish I knew.  I try to figure out what the government is doing and it does not make sense to me."  Point 14 is the completion of equity issue on terms satisfactory to the Yukon.  The interesting thing about these people who believe in the market system is that here is a company going out with an equity issue, the market test of which is that it is satisfactory to potential purchasers.  I do not know what this means.  Let us say it is successful and all of this issue is purchased, but somehow it is not satisfactory to the government of the Yukon.  I do not know what that means, because they were already out working on this problem.

Of course, in Point 13 they must have a viable plan for the Dy deposit – a viable plan.  What does it mean?  The point is that the viability of Dy depends on zinc prices.  Now Members opposite may think that thay are the lords and masters of all they survey, but they do not control zinc prices; those are established elsewhere.  We also realize that there are other conditions here.  There is a pending power rate increase, which is fairly massive and could have consequences to the company.  The Minister responsible for the Energy Corporation says, "maybe, in May or September we will have a subsidy we can discuss with Faro".  In the meantime, we will just have to wait.

The Government Leader, in answer to questions a day or so ago, said to us, again, that there were some conditions that were, of course, negotiable.  Some were not.  There were also some conditions beyond those that were on the list of 14.  We do not know what those are.  They could be real deal-breakers, too.  We do not know what they are.  They may be highly germane to this debate.  It would be ironic indeed, after all the publicity about the 14 conditions, if this deal came to a grinding halt because of some other condition, communicated to the company, that we, the Members of this House, knew absolutely nothing about.

The negativity of this government about the operation of Curragh is no more perfectly represented than in a document they gave us called The Impact Analysis of Curragh Inc.'s Request for Financial Assistance.  Again, I am confused.  We asked, at a meeting not so long ago, if there was a document such as this.  The government said there was not.  Perhaps it was in the works at the time.  Later, we were told that there was such a document.  I think it was the day of the demonstration on March 4.  We were told it was a Cabinet document.  We now know this is public.  I have a real problem with this document because, while it is possible to draw different conclusions and interpretations from the same set of facts, the problem is, in terms of a statement from the government, it, too, is a demonstration of the negative, despondent, almost hostile attitude toward these mines and these communities.  It is not a document representing hope, faith, imagination, creativity or willingness to sit down and jawbone and work something out for our mutual benefit.

You have to understand that, whatever your ideology, one of the realities of the Yukon economy is that the private and public sectors are interdependent.  It is obvious, even with respect to the large institutions like Curragh and this government, we have had a relationship from the beginning.  If we do not work together, which means involving everyone affected by the decisions, we are not likely to get the right solutions or solutions that work.  Let me remind Members of what we are talking about here in terms of the stripping program.  The $34 million the company is asking for is to remove the overburden off the Grum ore body.  The Grum project is an open-pit mine that will supply ore for the mill at Faro, it is hoped, until the year 1998, near the end of the century.  It is useful to keep in mind the total sum of money involved in the project.  According to Curragh, they have spent $89 million on the Grum project to date.  What is needed is approximately another $30 million to finish the job, to get at the ore body and start generating revenues.

There are people in our community who believe that Curragh has milked the Yukon, has ripped us off, has taken the money and run.  There are people who are appropriately concerned about the risk of this potential loan guarantee to Yukon taxpayers, who are appropriately concerned about the viability of the mine.  There are also many Yukoners who are worried sick and are appalled at the prospect of a mine shutdown.  In response to the concern about whether they have milked the taxpayer or the Yukon, Curragh will argue that, since they started up here in 1985, they have reinvested heavily in the Yukon.  They will argue that they have reinvested back into the territory more than they have earned in cash profits.  They say that they have invested approximately $290 million in the Yukon, and that their cash profits earned in the Yukon between 1985 and 1992 are $246 million.  Their brief is that they have put back in more than they have taken out.

All of us know that Faro money went into Westray.  All of us know that Faro money went into the ill-fated investment in the Spanish smelter.  Curragh's argument is that they recognize that their immediate future is still here in the Yukon and, most immediately, with the Grum ore body.  Yes, we in this House have to ask the question, are we throwing good money after bad?  We have to ask the question about whether we are involved in a businesslike arrangement.  We have to ask questions about collateral security, about terms, about compensation and about conditions.  We have to ask about the potential for money being diverted outside the Yukon into a Westray, or a Stronsay, property.  We have to ask the ultimate question: is the mining operation at Faro and is the mining operation at Watson Lake viable?  We have to ask questions about the direct operating costs in the Yukon.  We have to ask about the debt servicing burden.  We have to ask about the industry price outlook for the metals that are being mined here.  Probably the best way to answer the question – are the Faro and Watson Lake operations viable – is to respond that it all depends on the price of zinc; it depends very much.

We are told that the company needs, to cover its direct costs in the Yukon, 50 cents a pound for zinc.  To cover those costs and the debt servicing costs as well, it needs 55 cents.  The average price of zinc in 1992 was 56 cents.  The average price of zinc in January 1993 was 51 cents.  The price yesterday was 46 cents.  The industry consensus forecast for 1993 is 55 cents.  The industry consensus forecast for 1996 is above 75 cents.  I know that forecasting is a notoriously unreliable business.  I know that during our time in government most of the forecasts we saw were, in some degree, wrong – in the same way that the financial forecast commissioned by the government back in November was wrong.  But we are bound, nonetheless, to look at these forecasts by market analysts and see if we can divine in the numbers some trend so we can have some reason to have faith in the future...

Our two mines are the only major operating mines in the Yukon.  These zinc mines are competitors with Cominco.  Remember, Cominco is a Canadian company.  Cominco is trying to kill our mines.  It is right here in black and white and a bit of yellow.  It is very tough out there.  Even if Curragh had not invested in Spain and the Westray tragedy had not happened, it would be tough.  We did not create the problems in Spain and we have no responsibility whatsoever for what happened in Westray.  We do have a responsibility for what happens in Faro, Watson Lake and the whole Yukon economy.  The Yukon economy is not structurally complex.  It is like a three-legged stool.  We have government, tourism and mining.  If you knock one leg out, we would tip over and fall on our face.  Every sector is facing tough times.  We are going through a very tough time...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1993 March 31
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session1/015_Mar_31_1993.html


Question re: Curragh Inc., financial assistance

Mr. Penikett:
I have a question for the Government Leader about the Curragh negotiations, without intruding on the blackout.  I wonder if I could ask the Government Leader if he would admit now that making the principal condition of the Curragh loan guarantee negotiations non-negotiable was a mistake.

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
I do not believe we made a statement that the conditions were non-negotiable.  There are certain conditions that are non-negotiable.  At no point have I ever said that all 14 conditions were not negotiable.

Mr. Penikett:
It is the first condition, the most important condition and the one the Government Leader is quoted in the Watson Lake newspaper as saying is non-negotiable.  Given that public negotiations began with a YTG press release on the 14 conditions, which have now been followed conveniently with a blackout, would the Government Leader not agree that having a blackout now, after beginning the negotiations in public, heightens the anxiety of the interested people in Watson Lake and Faro?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
I would say to the Member opposite that the public negotiations did not start with the territorial government releasing the terms and conditions to the public.  They started long before that with an intense public lobby by the proponents of Curragh Inc. to put tremendous political pressure on this government to abide by their wishes.  I ask the Member opposite: does he believe that we should give Curragh a $34 million loan, unsecured?

Mr. Penikett:
Nobody anywhere that I know of has suggested that Curragh should be given a $34 million loan guarantee, unsecured.  However, we do believe that negotiations should have begun in December and January and not March – which is when they did.  Let me ask the Government Leader this: given what is at stake for our whole economy here, would he now concede that it was a major mistake to carry out negotiations in Toronto between two Toronto companies dealing with the fate of the Yukon economy, without a single Yukoner at the negotiating table?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
Before answering the Member's question, I would like to say that negotiations should not have started in December, 1992, they should have started in December, 1991, when that Member over there knew Curragh Inc. was in trouble and could not survive with a $5 million loan.  No, I do not think that it is a mistake to be negotiating in Toronto rather than in Whitehorse.

[boldface emphasis added]





Question re: Curragh Inc., financial assistance

Hon. Mr. Penikett:
Could the Government Leader explain to the House how negotiations for a $34 million loan guarantee should have begun in December 1991, when, to my knowledge, Curragh did not even ask for a loan guarantee for $34 million from this government until at least a year later?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
It is my understanding that Curragh came to this government, hat in hand, in December 1991, which resulted in negotiations between the Leader of the Official Opposition, the federal government and Curragh Inc.  The Leader of the Official Opposition is on record that the Yukon territorial government could not, by itself, afford to give this type of a loan to Curragh Inc. That is when the problem came to light and was not dealt with responsibly by the Members opposite.

Hon. Mr. Penikett:
After dithering with this matter for several months, it is not only true that we cannot afford to make this loan guarantee, but it is also now true that we cannot afford not to.  Given that the company involved came to both the federal government and the Yukon government last year for a loan guarantee, but asked the Yukon government only for a minor share of the total loan guarantee, and the federal government was continually at the negotiating table, at least until the Westray disaster, by which time there was already a $5 million loan guarantee resolution, a legal instrument before this House, based on what information does the Government Leader believe that Curragh ever asked this government for a $34 million loan guarantee prior to the Westray disaster?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
The Member opposite knows full well – and I will refresh his memory, if he does not remember – that negotiations were ongoing during the winter of 1991 with this government, and the federal government, for a portion of it, just the same as they were this last winter, from 1992 to March of 1993.  The federal government was involved in it until the Burns Fry report came out.

Hon. Mr. Penikett:
It is also a matter of record that, unlike the present government, the former government developed a negotiating mandate to deal with Curragh within a very short time after it was aware of the problem.  Again, since the fate of the Yukon economy may depend on this, does the Government Leader not agree that having the first and most important of his 14 conditions non-negotiable, as a matter of his stated policy, makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for third parties – namely Burns Fry, a group that, as far as I know, includes no Yukoners – to negotiate effectively on our behalf?  Does he not agree with that?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
With respect to the Member's preamble, I believe it was irresponsible for the Member opposite to advance Curragh $5 million and let the federal government off the hook.  That is what they did.  I did not vote for it; I was not in this House.  I do not think the terms and conditions that have been put on are irresponsible, and I am sure this can be resolved.  We made two specific conditions: that we have security for the loan, and Curragh be able to raise some equity on their own, and they are trying very diligently to do that.

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1993 April 5
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session1/017_Apr_5_1993.html


Hon. Mr. Ostashek, Government Leader:
This morning, in Toronto, Curragh Inc. filed an application seeking protection from creditors under the Companies Creditors' Arrangement Act.  During this interim period, Curragh will work with the Bank of Nova Scotia to restructure its financial affairs...

Mr. Penikett, Leader of the Official Opposition:
I rise because of the emergency situation occurring because of Curragh Incorporated's shutdown notices for Faro and Sa Dena Hes last Friday, April 2, and their application for bankruptcy protection today, April 5.  I would like to move
    THAT the ordinary business of the Assembly be adjourned.

Speaker:
The Leader of the Official Opposition provided me with the required written notice of this request.  I understand that copies were transmitted to the House Leaders.  Under the provisions of Standing Order 16(4), one Member from each party may speak to the request for not more than five minutes.  Then the Speaker will make his ruling.

Mr. Penikett:
Curragh's contribution to the Yukon economy is enormous.  It is the largest single private-sector employer and contributes, directly and indirectly, 3,000 jobs to the Yukon economy.  One out of every eight private-sector jobs in the Yukon is a Curragh job.  Curragh purchases $100 million of goods and services locally each year.  Unemployment in the Yukon is already at 14 percent.  If these mines close permanently, the unemployment rate will go up and we will have lost perhaps one-third of our gross territorial product... We desperately want information about what is going on... The citizens of Faro are hanging on by their fingernails to any hopes and dreams they have had about life and work here.  Many Main Street merchants in this town worry about the fate of the mine and many Yukon Alaska truckers worry about their futures, as well...

Speaker:
It appears that the House has decided that it will debate the issue of Curragh Inc. The Speaker is not required to give a ruling, because it is an agreement of the House.  However, I would like to comment on the comments made by the Members with respect to this issue, in an attempt to focus the debate.  The issue of Curragh Inc., and the shut down of its operations at Faro and Sa Dena Hes, is a matter of critical importance to the Yukon economy.  I think that all Yukoners are hanging on every word that comes forward, and every hour is critical.  The announcement, on Friday, of a two-month shutdown at Faro and a three-month shutdown at Sa Dena Hes, followed by the announcement this morning that Curragh would be seeking protection from its creditors, is new to us and has not been debated by this House... each Member who wishes to speak has up to fifteen minutes.  After that, there will not be a vote, but we will simply return to the ordinary business of the day.

Mr. Penikett:
...I think it is quite obviously the case that the financial crisis for Curragh Inc. is the biggest economic issue to face the Yukon this year, last year, and perhaps even for a decade... Throughout most of last year, we were negotiating with Curragh, and Curragh was negotiating with the federal government to try to arrange an aid package similar to what is now on the table.  To state the obvious, the situation for Curragh has gotten far worse since the Westray disaster, and I believe, as prices have been low, and stockpiles have increased, the situation over this past winter has become much worse... If we fail, we will pay and pay and pay for years and years and years to come.  Most of all, the people, the employees of Faro and Sa Dena Hes, will pay; so, too, will the suppliers and customers of Curragh... I believe that in the end the way we are going to get an arrangement here is to recognize that there has to be a role to play for the Government Leader in demonstrating economic leadership, perhaps even to the point of sitting down with Mr. Frame here in Whitehorse to hammer out some essentials in order to get these mines open and get our economy back on its feet...

Mr. Trevor Harding:
...In the meantime, there was the Westray fallout, which has taken awhile... What I am trying to explain to the Member for Riverdale North is, after that statement, the Westray fallout took some time to get to the point where it was well known to the Members in this House that the company could not survive on its own.  There was just no way.  A lot of things have changed since then.  At that time, there was no request for the $34 million.  The Westray fallout was still occurring...

Mrs. Firth:
I have been listening quite closely to the debate this afternoon.  The concern I have, as a Member of this Legislature, and the question I have for the government is whether or not they are going to do something or are they just going to sit back and wait for something to happen and for the problem to solve itself.  That is the concern I have had all along with this government's action or inaction with respect to the whole Curragh situation.  It seems that all Yukoners, not just the people in Faro, are feeling it the most; they have felt like they have been kept dangling on this string.  Everybody is waiting for something to happen... My concern is not who did what when and whether it was right or wrong, or whether this side was better than the other side.  My concern is for all the people of the Yukon.  The people in Faro are bearing the brunt of the stress right now.  They do not know what they are going to do tomorrow.  We are losing jobs.  I understand the message is being passed on to truckers at Yukon Alaska Transport to look for jobs anywhere else in Canada.  There is not a lot of optimism.  There are constituents, not only those whom I represent, who are now in a position of losing money because of what has happened.  We are facing a budget that is increasing taxes for Yukon people.  There is going to be lost business to Yukoners because of loss of population, if that is what happens as a result of Yukon Alaska truckers leaving, as well as Faro residents.  We have a budget on the table that we are debating, one that we have been told, by the government, is based upon Curragh being open and operating.  As a Member of this House, I am going to be asking about ramifications on this budget of Curragh closing down.  I know that Yukoners are facing increases in the costs of their electrical rates and if Curragh closes down, the increase is going to go up enough more.  Some of the officials at the Energy Corporation and Electrical Company have predicted that rates could go up as high as 40 percent if Curragh closes down.  Whether that is accurate or not, I do not know, but that is going to have a tremendous effect on the people whom I represent and all Yukoners.  We have to, as Members of this Legislature, get our priorities in order.  My first priority is for the people of the Yukon – not whether some other government did a worse job of negotiating, not whether the Member of Parliament is doing a good job, but what we are doing as 17 Members of the Legislative Assembly to help the people we represent.  I find it very unsettling and very disturbing that we are standing up in this House and asking Yukoners to accept this agonizing, slow torture as we debate this issue day by day, issue by issue and new development by new development.  When I received this ministerial statement, as other Members have said, a minute or two before we came into the Legislature, it gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach because the government was announcing their contingency plan and it made me feel like it was all over, finished and that there was no hope.  The information that I want from the government is to know if this is all that there is or is there some hope and can we be optimistic that maybe we can arrive at a conclusion or decision that is going to be a positive announcement and favourable for all Yukoners?  We are not protecting Curragh; we are not doing this for Curragh; we are not doing this for Clifford Frame; we are not doing it for anyone, other than the people we represent.  At least that is the way I see it.  I want some answers from the government.  I want to know if they are going to carry on negotiating?  I want to know if there is going to be any direction to have the negotiations take place in the Yukon, either in Whitehorse or Faro?  I want to know if we are going to have a Yukon representative at the table?  I want to know if there is there going to be a time line, or some direction that once you get in that room, you do not come out until you have an answer one way or the other.  I would like to hear from the government what their contingency plan involves, in the event that negotiations do fail and that Curragh is not going to open again...

Hon. Mr. Phelps:
I would like to put a few comments on the record during this timely debate.  I would like to make a few fairly simple points.  The first point is that this is 1993, not 1985... In 1985, we had a new company coming along called Curragh.  There was no Westray, with all of the political liability and cloud that company sits under, in conjunction with this mine.  There was no Westray in 1985.  In 1985, we did not have the history of people, who are officers of Curragh, having stripped out of the company millions and millions of dollars for their personal use.  That was not on the books or on the record in 1985, because it was a new company coming forward... There are a lot of differences in play.  Let me say that this government has never intended to subsidize the mine at Faro, ever.  Despite the expertise of Mr. Frame and his company at squeezing money from every government that he seems to come in contact with, we were never going to give away millions of dollars to the private sector in this fashion, to try to subsidize the mine and fight against a world price over which no government, including the federal government, could have any possible control.  The supply and demand of the world is what we are talking about.  Subsidizing Faro was never this government's position...

[boldface emphasis added]





Curragh Inc. 151 times

The name "Curragh" — as in Curragh Inc. — appears 151 times
in  the  Hansard  record  of  what  was  said  on  the  floor
of the  Yukon  Legislature  on this one day,  5 April 1993.
"Frame" — as in "Clifford Frame" — appears eight times
and "Westray" ten times.





Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1993 April 28
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session1/030_Apr_28_1993.html


Motion No. 38

Speaker:
It has been moved by the Member for Faro
    THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should show economic leadership by actively supporting the immediate stripping of the Grum ore deposit in the vicinity of Faro as an infrastructure investment to stimulate economic activity, to keep thousands of Yukon people working and to stave off private sector economic collapse due to the lack of any other immediate private sector opportunities of comparable scale.

Mr. Harding, MLA for Faro:
I rise today to debate what I consider to be a very important motion for the future of the Yukon.  I could probably speak about this matter for a long time, because we have been discussing it since November inside and outside of this Legislature, but I will keep my comment succinct, because I think that it is very important that all Members get a chance to speak today and that we get to vote on this very important motion.  I hope that the government shows responsibility to the people of the Yukon and that they do not filibuster this afternoon, but that they get to their succinct points on this motion so that we can get to a vote on this motion.

I want to read this morning's newscast, and I want to read a quote to the Government Leader, "I went to Faro before I knew what the situation was like; when we had 600 hostile people that thought it was the government's responsibility to put Curragh back to work.  I do not think that it is the government's responsibility to put Curragh back to work; the government can play a role in it, but it certainly is not our responsibility." The Government Leader went on to say, "We have to face the fact that there are some other mining communities in the Yukon that closed down and the Town of Faro is tied to the mine operating.  That is the reality of the situation, as sad as it is.  It is not the first mining town that has faced this situation." The Government Leader went on further to say, "The government has no control in this situation."  Are these the comments of a leader?  Does this sound like a man who is ready to seize the day and find solutions to the most pressing economic problem facing this territory?  Or, is it the comment of a broken, defensive man, devoid of effort and will who is beginning to sound more and more ready to let the economy of the Yukon die without a proper fight?  I say it is the latter.  This problem cries out for economic leadership.  All we get is defeatism from the Ministers and the government when they speak in the debates and when the Government Leader speaks in the media and this House.  They have given up.  When those defeatist doom and gloom comments do not get anywhere, the blame starts.  They blame everybody.  They blame the previous administration, Curragh, the people of Faro, the federal government and everyone but themselves for this situation.  They are the people in control of this government.

The Government Leader said in Question Period that he is glad Faroites are here today so that some misrepresentations could be cleared up.  I certainly hope he can do that in his speech.  I really feel that the only misrepresentations that have been made have been by the Government of the Yukon to the people of the Yukon.  I know what the government says.  They have a standard line whenever we talk about this subject.  They will blame the NDP.  They will say that the NDP lent $5 million to Curragh and got no security for it and they now have to go to court to get their security.  That loan was secure, but let us just take the hypothetical situation that it was not.  At least that economic leadership put 1,000 people to work in the territory for one more year.  I call that pretty good economics.

They talk about the comments made by the former Government Leader, the leader of my party, about the amount of money that has been talked about in this equation.  The effects of Westray, low metal prices and increasing tonnage on the world metal markets have all created different situations.  As the fallout from Westray dissipated, it had a tremendous effect on Curragh.  It chewed up their capital.  The loan was called on Sa Dena Hes.  The working capital was gone.  The situation then is totally different from the situation now.  It is incumbent upon the government-of-the-day to recognize that and realize that they must seize the day.  If they do not, they will not show any leadership.  In his radio comments this morning, the Government Leader said that Faroites thought it was the government's responsibility to help Curragh.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The people of Faro believe that the government's responsibility is to exhaust all efforts to see crisis economic problems resolved.  The people of Faro believe that the government has a responsibility to ensure that the economy remains strong or do whatever they can to ensure that that is the case.  They also believe that it is the responsibility of the government to help Yukoners.  If that means that Curragh has to receive some form of support to save thousands of jobs and many businesses in this territory, then so be it.  The issue is not Curragh and the responsibility to help Curragh; the issue is the responsibility of government to create a strong economy and to make all efforts to ensure that is the case...

In this situation, it is not all the government's fault.  There is no question about that.  We realize that; Faroites realize that; everyone realizes that.  However, they have had a very definite impact on the way things have fallen together in this situation, in the CCAA situation we are in now.  There is no question.  When the request was first made of them to fund the whole amount – the first time that request was made in November – their indecisiveness was followed by many delaying and stalling tactics and refusing to adopt a negotiating mandate.  If it were not for that indecisiveness, we might not be in the situation we are presently in, and the company might not be so bad, and the situation might not be so bleak, and the people in my community might not be in such dire straits.  Unfortunately, they chose to wait, because they had a belief, all along, that they wanted Curragh to restructure and that, for some reason, the banks would swoop in, restructure the whole situation and everything would be fine.  Well, I do not know if that is going to be the case.  While Curragh has made some bad decisions and metal prices are low, it appears, on a daily basis, that the situation is crying out for some optimism.  The government can help.  It has the ability and the responsibility to help, because there are no other options on the horizon for this territory in the private sector.

This is not British Columbia, which is a port province.  It has major tourism; it has mining; it has logging; it has fishing; it has a diverse array of industries to help support the economy.  In the Yukon, we have tourism, government and mining, and the mining industry is largely made up of the two mines in Faro and Watson Lake.  When you close those mines, you destroy one-third of the territorial economy.  It is incumbent that government do all in its power to ensure that they do not allow that to happen.  What have we received from the government?  They have thrown two offers on the table with impossible conditions, tantamount to empty offers, and then said that was good enough, Curragh has refused.  Curragh has not refused.  The banks have refused.  The banks will not accept the deal the government put forth.  Therefore, when you are in negotiations, you have to adopt a new position if you want to be successful.  Sometimes, it will take the toughest commitment you could ever make to a situation to see it through.  Unfortunately, we do not get that from the government.  Every day, they appear more and more ready to flush it down the toilet, to let it go, and that is terrible.  When metal prices are low, it does not mean you have to have a shutdown.  It means that the challenge for the company, and for the employees, and for the territory, is to ensure that the mine stays open during the low metal prices, so that they can flourish when prices pick up.  There may be some modified way of doing the operation to get production costs Idown temporarily.  It may take some work on behalf of the banks.  It may take some work on behalf of the government.  It can be done.  There are many mines operating today that are operating on a negative cashflow basis because they are simply trying to stay in business – while others are going out of business – and being competitive and trying to survive.  Sometimes they need some help along the way.

The question is, is it a good investment for government.  I believe it is in this case.  There is a simple reason for that.  That reason is, as I have stated before, we do not have a lot of other options in this territory, not to mention that this year there is a proposed $483 million budget before this House.  That is half a billion dollars for 30,000 people.  That is $16,000 for every man, woman and child in this territory; that is more than anywhere else in this country.  That in and of itself, makes it very important, when there is nothing else on the horizon, that the government take some risk to stimulate the economy, and not be so worried about what is in their bank account, but start to worry about how many people are working in this territory and contributing to the economy.  That is what makes an economy strong.  It does not seem as if the government realizes that.

We all realize that government money alone will not save these jobs.  I do not think there is much disputing that.  I know when I talk to people in my community, they are well-informed of this situation and a lot of them express that to me.  They also realize that it is an important part of the equation.  It is my belief that a combination of three things will have to happen in order to see this mine survive.  One of them is investment of some sort by the private sector to create some working capital for the company.  Perhaps this could be the sale of the Stronsay asset in northern B.C., or a combination of both of the two to raise some working capital.  Secondly, there is the Grum stripping, a major capital intensive project that is going to require some extra help, while these prices are low.  That is where the government comes in.  They can work to ensure that they give some kind of a commitment.  The third thing is that it would be very beneficial if the bank would agree to some form of restructuring of their debt and repayment.  There is no question about that.  I would agree with the Members opposite that that is an arrangement that I would like to see happen.  But I do not agree with their waiting for the other two things to happen, without putting something forward, at least conditionally upon the other two players doing something – one being Curragh, and two being the banks.  They are just waiting.  They have thrown it out there and they say that if we get the other two things, they will help – sort of.  That is not the right way to tackle this.  That is why we suggested that all the players be brought together in this equation – the employees, the banks, the noteholders, the government, Curragh officials – bring them together to talk about the situation.

The government has raised a valid point.  They say they do not want to put any money into the Grum deposit, only to have it increase the value of the asset when the banks foreclose so that they can get more money on the dollar as a creditor.  I support that.  I do not want to see that either.  That is why the government has to get together with the banks and with the company and strike a deal that gets an agreement, that says that the banks will not foreclose.  That is how you deal with that.  You do not just say no.  The Government Leader says that kind of a conference would not accomplish anything.  Going to Faro would not accomplish anything.  The Government Leader has a crystal ball.  He knows what is not going to accomplish this, and what is not going to accomplish that.  What he has not told us, from reading that crystal ball, is how does he accomplish anything?  He has not told us that at all.  All he can do is feed us comments and take a negative, defeatist approach to the critical economic situation we are in in this territory.

I want to talk about the form of commitment to Curragh.  As far as I am concerned, they can throw the $34 million out the window.  They can throw the $5 million out the window as it stands right now.  Let us get creative.  Let us work out some way so that we can give some positive financial commitment, on a conditional basis with the banks and Curragh, if they would like.  I would probably support them.  Let us take another look at the situation.  Let us look at if we can make a monthly incremental contribution, based on certain things, to stripping Grum.  That would get some activity going on the mine site, get some people in my community back to work, and create a bit of a buffer zone so that Curragh can go to work to try and raise some more working capital to get through these low metal prices.  It is not going to be rosy.  There is no question that we have some tough times ahead.  If we have the leadership, and if we have the political will, and if we have the determination from the government, I believe that it can be accomplished.  We have thrown out all kinds of suggestions.  The Liberal leader has asked for an all-party committee.  I would support that approach, as long as there was some kind of real commitment on behalf of the others in the Legislature on that side to really working things out, provided they stop listening only to Yukon Party supporters and start listening to other people in the territory who have a stake in jobs and businesses and start taking a leadership position rather than a populist position of playing to anti-Frame/anti-Curragh that is easily picked up on by people in this territory.  That is the easiest thing to do.  True leaders take a minority position, try to educate, talk and consult with people to try and bring a consensus and understanding to the situation – instead of defeatism.  The easy position is the populist position; the tough position is the leader's position – that has been void from the Members opposite.

The issue of security is a very important issue.  I would never deny that.  Whenever we talk about security, the Members opposite stand up and ask, "You would like to give them an unsecured $5 million loan like you did last time.  You would like to hand them $29 million unsecured?" That is not what we say.  We put a motion forward on March 17, and debated it in this House that said, "It has been moved by the Leader of the Official Opposition that it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon conditions for the Curragh loan guarantee must be tough but realistic; and that the Government of the Yukon must show fiscal and economic leadership when they negotiate these conditions with Curragh in order to protect the taxpayers and ensure the security of the jobs in Faro."  We support attempts to get as much security as possible, but we also support the taking of some risk, in the balance, to try and get people working again in this territory.  That is our position, but the government will not tell us what has been offered for security.  They will only tell us that they did not get first charge on assets.  That is all the information we get.  All we can do is assume that that is all they are prepared to accept – as for the $34 million, they told us that was all they were prepared to accept when the Government Leader went Watson Lake and said that the first condition was not negotiable...

The government showed, in the context of our motion where we called for economic leadership contribution, they show their leadership by hiring the high-priced Burns Fry Company – Toronto lawyers – to negotiate on behalf of the Yukon Territory in Toronto.  They did not send one Yukon official until much later into the discussions and they did not send any political people.  Is that the will to see a deal?  No. Burns Fry is looking at the bottom line and, as far as I am concerned, they were working under the direction and guises of the federal government who, all along, wanted to see Curragh restructured and Mr. Frame out of the picture – that was their agenda.  I believe that was what Burns Fry was doing all along.

I am not beholden to Clifford Frame.  I am not beholden to Curragh Inc.  As a matter of fact, they did not make any donations in the disclosure book that I saw, to our party; they made them to the Members opposite, not to our party.  What I believe is that the issue is not Curragh.  The issue is jobs, the economy and Yukoners and, if it involves Curragh, then so be it.  What we have seen so far from the Members opposite are empty offers.  They say they are doing something.  I believe it is for political looks, to tell the people.  After the March 4 demonstration, when people came in here and talked to the Government Leader and tried to get some media attention and tried to get the message out to people, there was a feeling of elation when the government put forward the position that they were prepared to help if Curragh obeyed some conditions.  Right on that very day, I, too, was elated; I felt a sense of relief but also a sense of foreboding and cautious optimism, as did many of the Members of my caucus.  When I went out to talk to the people from the community, the demonstrators, and when I went home that weekend, they all said to me, "Ah, this is just another way to get out of it to make themselves look good and Curragh look bad." Well, they turned out to have a better crystal ball than the Government Leader because that is, indeed, what the government's approach to this situation was...

How long did the government take to formulate their position?  The people of Faro know how long they took.  The request was made in November to fund the entire project, and there is no question that it was a tough request.  I have some empathy for the Government Leader.  It is a tough situation, but I certainly would have approached it from a different angle.  Right off the bat, gloom and doom was spread.  The comments came out that there was discussion among the party, that they did not believe philosophically in investment in private enterprise.  Those are all wonderful, wonderful philosophical and ideological beliefs and I believe in creating an economic environment where the government does not have to help private enterprise on an individual basis as well.  I have no problem with that.  I do not believe in nationalizing industry but, in this situation, I think ideology should take a place far, far up in the 300th row.  That is where it should sit, because the solution to it does not lie in ideology.  The solution lies in practicality, political will and determination.  Yes, you are going to have to negotiate hard with Curragh and yes, the banks are not going to do anything unless they are forced to do it, but you can still accomplish those tasks without spreading the negativity the Members opposite have done and without showing the lack of will to approach the situation in different ways.

There is no question in my mind that the Members opposite have delayed and delayed because they felt all along that they had to play tough guy with Curragh, and particularly, Clifford Frame, which becomes readily apparent when the two Members for Ross River-Southern Lakes and Kluane get up and talk about their feelings about Curragh and how they are not going to let this cigar-chomping guy from Toronto tell them what to do.  I do not like that any more than they do, but I am prepared to rise above my feelings about the company, its officials and everything else.  I suggest to the Members that they implement tough conditions, tying Curragh down so that the money does not leave the Yukon.  All of that is very important and we supported that, but we do not take the approach that they do.  Any government money that Curragh has been loaned has been paid back and we have realized a value on our investment thousands of times over in this territory.  It was a great deal for the territory: seven years of great economic activity stimulated by those mines.  The economic stimulation cannot be overlooked.  Is that not, in itself, worth some risk?  Are the people of my community who have put in seven years stimulating that economy not worth some risk?  They are taxpayers, they pay a lot of tax, they contribute to this territory, they love this territory and they want to stay in this territory, but they need the support and the will of the government to do that.  I am not convinced that the government will is there.  When I read the comments made by the Government Leader – no matter what the Member says after I speak – the people of Faro and the people of the Yukon heard the defeatism in his comments.  When the Government Leader talks about Faro in the past tense, it does not lend a lot of hope to people, no matter what he says today.  Why does he take that approach?

Security in this equation is important and as much security as can be extracted is beneficial.  If $29 million to $34 million is too much for the amount of security that we can extract, then we should look at other options, such as interim financing or bridge financing.  Again, there has to be the will to do it.  The Government Leader is going to stand up and say how hard they have been working on this situation.  I think it is going to fall on pretty deaf ears.  I do not care how many hundreds of meetings they have with Curragh officials, if they are going to throw 14 conditions on the table, do it all behind closed doors in Toronto with Burns Fry, tell the public nothing except about the conditions, go on radio phone-in shows, put a full-page ad in the paper, publicize and politicize the conditions and then tell the people of the Yukon that they are not prepared to talk about what is going on in the negotiations, I think they have some other agenda that involves getting people in the Yukon back to work.  I think that is an obvious point to a lot of people here in this territory.

I am going to end my remarks because, again, I want everyone in this Legislature to be able to stand up today, make their succinct points, cut to the bone, separate the wheat from the chaff, get to the heart of the issue and have a vote.  I do not want to see filibustering from the government.  This situation cries out for leadership and determination and political will.  I will do anything I can to help.  I pledge that to the Government Leader.  I will be involved in any party committee.  Again, however, there has to be that will.  I hope that the Members opposite in the government are listening and do not filibuster today, that they let people speak, get people on the record and have a vote on this motion.  I implore the government to get more aggressive in their approach to this situation.  I implore them to show economic leadership, to quit blaming others and take responsibility for the situation.  They have been in government for seven months; they must give this equation the spark of commitment and give the Grum the spark of commitment it needs to create activity at the mine, give Curragh time to raise money and help the mines, the jobs, the businesses and the people of the Yukon get back to work...

[boldface emphasis added]






Mr. Penikett:
...We all know that since we began debating the matter last year... a lot has changed.  There has been the Westray tragedy and the subsequent criminal charges against the corporation.  The chair of the corporation has become a pariah in the national media.  Senior federal Cabinet Ministers no longer want to be seen in the same room as Curragh officials.  The company has been plagued by continuing low metal prices.  There is a glut on zinc markets and their financial problems have gone from bad to worse.  It should not surprise anyone that Curragh's officials and the chair of the company's board are fighting for their lives.  That should not surprise anyone.  I am told that is what corporate executives do...

[boldface emphasis added]




Curragh Inc. 164 times

The name "Curragh" — as in Curragh Inc. — appears 164 times
in  the  Hansard  record  of  what  was  said  on  the  floor
of the  Yukon  Legislature  on this one day, 28 April 1993.
"Clifford Frame" appears six times, and "Westray" six times.






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1993 April 29
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session1/031_Apr_29_1993.html


Department of Economic Development - continued


Chair:
Is there further general debate on the Department of Economic Development?

Mr. Harding:
It is probably not going to come as much of a surprise to the Minister of Economic Development but the first subject that I want to get back to is the discussion that we were engaged in last evening on the Grum stripping and its identification by the Yukon government as an infrastructure investment by the territory.  Why, when they identified it as an infrastructure investment, would they now take the position that it could not be used as an infrastructure investment by the Government of the Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Devries:
As I indicated to the Member last night and again in Question Period, we feel it is a mining operation.  The reason it was put in the infrastructure document was to try to get some money from the federal government to assist us in stripping the Grum.

Mr. Harding:
Would it be fair to say that the Yukon government felt that they should take a subtle, quiet approach to getting some help from the federal government in the Grum stripping project because of the fallout from Westray?

Hon. Mr. Devries:
Yes, it is fair to say that with the federal government being unfavourable toward anything with Curragh and Westray attached to it, they more than likely would not be interested in investing in anything those companies attached to the investment at that time.

Mr. Harding:
Could the Minister explain why the Government of Yukon took such a vicious approach to attacking the Member of Parliament, who claimed to be meeting with Ministers, taking a back-room approach, sending letters to the Prime Minister and speaking with the Yukon government about the issue.  The Yukon government took the position that she should be asking questions in Question Period and debating to pump the federal government into helping the mine situation in the Yukon.  Why would the Government of Yukon approach the issue quietly and expect the Member for Parliament to do something other than that?

Hon. Mr. Devries:
She also had the choice of seeking assistance from the federal government for the Grum stripping.  She does not necessarily have to use the name of Curragh.  She has the same options that we have.

Mr. Harding:
She did. The government took the position that because they did not want to publicize the issue of the Grum stripping they put out a document identifying – this is the government's position – the Grum ore body and waste stripping of that ore body as an infrastructure project and identified the location as Faro.  Yet, the government said it was shameful that the Member of Parliament did not take a more vocal approach to try to get some funding from the federal government for the project.  Why would the Government of Yukon be so vicious in their attacks when they thought the best approach be to try to get federal help was a quiet one?

Hon. Mr. Devries:
We attempted the other route several times and have yet heard very little from our Member of Parliament in bringing the matter up in the House of Commons.

Mr. Harding:
The Government of the Yukon made the decision that they should not do just what they are asking the Member of Parliament to do.  They should camouflage it subtly in their Toward Self-Sufficiency by the 21st Century document so that the federal government, who was concerned about the fallout of Westray, would not be politically worried about getting involved in this project.  Yet, they called the Member of Parliament's performance shameful.  I was at a meeting with the concerned parties in this Legislature when she laid out what she had done.  They say she should take a more vocal approach and stand up in Question Period and debate and raise the issue, even though the Government of the Yukon knew the political problems that that would have created in getting what was best for Yukoners – federal government help.  Why would the Government of the Yukon make those attacks, when they did the same thing?

Hon. Mr. Devries:
It is her responsibility to stick up for Yukoners in that matter; we have been doing that.  We have been working night and day on this.  For the last four months, I can assure the Members that officials from the Department of Economic Development have burned the midnight oil working on this thing.  Sure, we have hired Burns Fry to represent us, but there is a lot of work that goes on in the background.  If the Member does not appreciate that, he should say so.  We are working to get the Grum stripped and to assist in seeing Curragh survive.  What else can we do?

Mr. Harding:
I have made many suggestions about what else the government could do. So far, none of my suggestions have been adopted by the government.  I do not appreciate the direction and the efforts thus far, because I do not think they have been full enough.  The Minister just said that the Member of Parliament has the responsibility to the Yukon.  They also said that she should have been raising the issue publicly.  Somehow they equate the fact that she did not do that with shirking her responsibilities.  The Government of the Yukon very quietly and subtly camouflaged, to use their words, the request in order to avoid the same thing – public discussion.  Does this mean that the Yukon government shirked their responsibilities?  They just made the accusation that the Member of Parliament did, for just that reason.

Hon. Mr. Devries:
No.  What I said is that the MP for the Yukon could have stood up in the House of Commons and indicated that there was a great deal of unemployment in Faro and that they would like to see assistance in the stripping of the Grum ore body, just to make sure that the other MPs were aware of this.

Mr. Penikett:
Could the Minister of Economic Development tell me how many references there were to Curragh Inc. in the throne speech of the Government of the Yukon?

Hon. Mr. Devries:
I do not know. I would have to get back to the Member on that.  I do not have it at my fingertips.  If he wants to know and if I said there were seven and there were six, he would complain about it.

Mr. Penikett:
Would the Minister confirm for the House that there were absolutely zero references to Curragh Inc. or Faro in the government's throne speech?

Hon. Mr. Devries:
Again, I do not know.  I would have to get hold of it and have a look.  I did not memorize it.

Mr. Penikett:
Would the Minister agree that if it was an important enough issue, it would have been included in the throne speech?

Hon. Mr. Devries:
I can assure the Member that it is a very important issue.  Again, I do not have the throne speech at my fingertips and I do not have it memorized.  I would have to get back to him about it.

[boldface emphasis added]





Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1993 May 12
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session1/038_May_12_1993.html


Hon. Mr. Devries, the Minister of Economic Development:
...Pelly Construction already has some 30 people working on the highway project on the Shakwak; once the other contract comes onstream in June or July they will have up to 130 people working there in the latter part of the summer.  It is hoped the majority of people will be employed from the Yukon... Quite often, the spinoffs of one job created in the exploration industry creates two other jobs, so it is a 1:3 ratio.  Construction jobs are very similar, so there are some substantial employment opportunities in the Yukon.  Like I said before, it is not going to replace Curragh, but we cannot control lead or zinc prices.  That is beyond our capability.  As I mentioned in a speech a few weeks ago, it would take $50 million a year to keep Curragh Inc. operating at 46-cent zinc.  We do not have the ability to do that...

[boldface emphasis added]





Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1993 May 25
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session1/044_May_25_1993.html


Hon. Mr. Ostashek, Government Leader:
I rise today to provide Members of this Assembly with a report of my meetings held last week in South Korea regarding Curragh Inc.

Members of this Legislature will recall that when I announced two weeks ago that I would be going to South Korea I said that my purpose in going was to make potential investors aware of the fact that we in the Yukon are open for business, and that we are supportive of Curragh in their efforts to seek investors.

In my meetings in Seoul, that was a message that was delivered each time, on behalf of Yukoners.  The meetings can best be described as productive, as evidenced by the announcement earlier today by Curragh Inc., which I want to address in a few moments.

My meetings included a private meeting between myself and the chief executive officer of Korea Zinc to discuss the opportunities to invest in the Yukon.  I can report that I was assured, separately, by both the CEO of Korea Zinc Limited and the chairman of Curragh Inc. that the involvement of the Yukon government in these meetings was significant in achieving progress between Curragh, Korea Zinc and Samsung Corporation.

I also want to point out that I was extremely pleased by the positive approach of the Korean officials who are focused strongly on long-term supplies of zinc at competitive rates, with adequate security and protection for their investment.

Earlier today, Curragh announced the major elements of an agreement signed between Mr. Frame and representatives of Korean Zinc Limited and Samsung Corporation.  The agreement involves the provision of $50 million of new equity to Curragh Inc. conditional upon Curragh meeting a number of significant terms and requirements, one of which is the company will be required to restructure...

[boldface emphasis added]






Question re: Curragh Inc., Asian investors


Mr. Penikett:
Obviously, we are going to have to do more than look at these questions, because as I understand the situation the $50 million from the Asian investors is contingent on the government reaching some agreement on the Grum stripping and power rates.  Power rates were mentioned on the way to Korea and on the way back.  Does the Government Leader want us to believe that there were no serious discussions while he was with Mr. Frame about what kind of power rate package might be acceptable to Mr. Frame and the Korean investors? 

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
The Member opposite can believe whatever he likes.  What I have said is that I did not make any firm commitments while I was in Korea.  They indicated to me what they would like to see established for power rates.  I could not commit to any rates while I was in Korea; that is something that I would have to discuss with my colleagues and how the matter is going to be handled.  The Member opposite should remember that if some of this zinc starts going to the United States, we could be accused of subsidizing industry under the Free Trade Agreement.

Mr. Penikett:
The Government Leader's last comment happens to be one of the reasons why I am opposed to the Free Trade Agreement, while the Member opposite is in favour of the agreement.  Let me ask the Minister this: with respect to power rates, who is in charge of the negotiations; is it the Public Utilities Board, the Minister or the Government Leader?  It is not clear to me, from what the Government Leader said, whether Cabinet or the Yukon Energy Corporation is going to be making these decisions.  It is also not clear to me if general consumers are going to be affected as a result of some deal on power rates with Curragh Inc. and the Korean investors, or whether they are going to be consulted about the matter.  Could the Government Leader explain that? 

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
I think the Member opposite is fully aware that this party is taking a position that the ratepayers cannot be shouldering subsidies to industry in the Yukon.  We feel that is a wrong way to go about it.  I believe the Minister responsible for energy has made the statement in the House that it is an issue.  When we get something hard and fast in front of us, we will have to deal with it in Cabinet and bring it back to this Legislature for approval.  It is not an issue that can be dealt with, without knowing all the ramifications of it.  I do not feel that the ratepayers of the Yukon can shoulder that kind of a subsidy.  First of all, to believe that 30,000 ratepayers in the Yukon can have a utility that is going to be cost-effective and competitive is a dream.

Mr. Penikett:
We only have two choices then: the ratepayers and the taxpayers.  If the taxpayers are going to contribute to lowering Curragh's power rates, or industry's power rates – we do not have much industry now – can the Government Leader indicate when he and his government are going to be expressing in financial or budgetary terms the millions of dollars it will take to either do the Grum stripping or lower industrial power rates, or both?  When will we see some firm commitments from this government and when will they be going back to the negotiating table to reach those agreements? 

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
In my discussions with Mr. Frame and Curragh Inc., the indication that I got from them is that they will be approaching the government after their June 2 court appearance.  We will start negotiations on the Grum stripping once we see how the court accepts the restructuring plan that Curragh is going to put before the courts.  I want to reiterate for the Member opposite that we are talking about the possibility of $75 million in new equity, resulting in the company being 75 percent foreign-owned.  Curragh, as it sits now, will play a very small role in a new restructured Curragh.



Question re: Curragh Inc., Asian investors


Mr. Cable:
The Curragh press release states that the arrangement between Curragh and Samsung Corp. and Korea Zinc is conditional upon the Korean companies being satisfied with the fundamentals of Curragh's business.  Has the Government Leader discussed with Mr. Frame the releasing of the Burns Fry report or the Micon report to those companies in order to expedite matters? 

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
No, that question never came up, and we did not discuss it.

Mr. Cable:
The agreement that is referred to in the Curragh press release and the Minister's statement – is the Government Leader aware of whether that is an agreement in principle, some sort of interim agreement requiring further negotiations, or is that a final, formal agreement that is now in place and requires no further formal negotiation?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
It is an agreement that is due to close on August 31 of this year, providing Curragh can meet the terms and conditions of the agreement, as they are stipulated.  If Curragh is able to reach them, then there would be no further negotiation.  If they are unsuccessful in fulfilling some of them, I imagine there will be some ongoing negotiations.  Further to that, the Korean officials will be in the Yukon within 10 days, I understand, to do their own due-diligence study on the company.

Mr. Cable:
I have to assume then that we have in place a final, formal agreement.  Several weeks ago, the Government Leader put forward to Curragh a number of conditions, among which was condition number 14, relating to the injection of new capital into the corporation.  Does the offer from the Korean companies meet that condition?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
It is very hard to say at this point whether it does or not because, at the time the conditions were put out, Curragh was still an operating company and not under Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.  Now that the extent of their debt is known, as the Member opposite is aware, there are players in the game who have far more control over what happens to Curragh than the Government of the Yukon.



Question re: Curragh Inc., Asian investors


Mr. Harding:
Our party has said all along that the Yukon government is one player in this equation, but a very important player.  We have also said that, no matter what press release or statement from the government or Curragh came, any equity injection would end up being contingent on some kind of government support, through some means, for the Grum stripping project.  Given the press release from Curragh this morning and the ministerial statement, will the Government Leader confirm for the House that the equity injection is, indeed, contingent to a large part on the government support in some fashion for the Grum stripping project?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
No, I would not, because there are many other issues that have to be dealt with.  That is one issue, and it is not a major one, unlike the $221 million worth of debt that has to be restructured.  For us to try to get involved in the Grum stripping right now would be impossible without the sanction of the courts.

Mr. Harding:
I was somewhat optimistic this morning, but I am becoming more and more pessimistic as I hear the responses from the Government Leader, because there is negativity surrounding it.  I want to ask the Government Leader about the ministerial statement and, in particular, the reference to appropriate security.  Could the Government Leader tell this Legislature what, by definition of the Yukon territorial government, constitutes appropriate security; is it the same position they have taken all along?

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
I will not comment on that here.  That is an issue that will be dealt with at the negotiating table with Curragh.

Mr. Harding:
We are having difficulty trying to sort out what is going on here.  The press release and ministerial statement have made it clear that the government support is one part of the puzzle, but it is a very important part.  Everybody in the Yukon understands that.  The last time we tried this, we tried it with Burns Fry in Toronto.  Will there be a change in the way that the Yukon government does its negotiating this time and will the negotiations take place with as many stakeholders as possible, with Yukoners at the table, who have the most at stake? 

Hon. Mr. Ostashek:
I wish that I had that much control.  This thing is in the hands of the courts.  We do not even know, to this day, who the note holders are.  We know some of them, but we do not know all of them.  Curragh has chosen to negotiate with each one of these people on an individual basis.  That is the message that they have used to try to come up with a restructuring plan that is acceptable to the courts.  We are prepared to go along with what Curragh wants.

[boldface emphasis added]





Curragh Inc.  46 times

The name "Curragh" — as in Curragh Inc. — appears 46 times
in  the  Hansard  record  of  what  was  said  on  the  floor
of the  Yukon  Legislature  on this one day, 25 May 1993.
"Frame" — as in "Clifford Frame" — appears seven times.





Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1993 June 25
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/4th-35th/vol_90.html


Bill 3-The Oil and Gas and Consequential Amendments Act


Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):
...I feel there is a real judgment called for when it involves the power of the minister, Madam Deputy Speaker.  If that power is used wisely, obviously there is no great difficulty involved, but there is always the temptation for political influence.  (interjection) Well, the minister says, not for me, but I would note that the minister just happens to represent an area of the province that is the area where this focus is in place.  It is very important to his constituency.  I am not arguing that he should not, as a member of the Legislature, represent the interests of his area, but it does involve some potential conflicts between the role as a constituency MLA and the role of a minister.  I just point in another context, for example, to the kinds of difficulties that arose in Nova Scotia with the Westray Mine development, where you essentially had the Premier of the day who prior to being Premier – a former Premier now – Madam Deputy Speaker, just happened to be the MLA for the area.  (interjection)  That is right, off to the U.S. on another Tory patronage appointment, the Tory pension system.  They sure know how to take care of their retired political people.  He is off.  I mean that as no offence, and I do not want to get into Westray specifics, but I am talking about the potential for conflict.  I think in this particular case, I think the minister may wish to address that, either in his concluding remarks or certainly on third reading...

[boldface emphasis added]





 

1994






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1994 April 19, page 2187
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session1/092_Apr_19_1994.html


Mr. McDonald:
...What we have here are some write-offs that include some $2.4 million to pay for Curragh's energy charges prior to their unfortunate demise.  That $2.4 million is a one-time debt by the company for electrical energy.  Now they are saying that the taxpayers of this territory must pay for it...

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1994 May 9, page 4060
     http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/301/hansard-f/35-1/066_94-05-09/066OQ1E.html#4060


Ms. Roseanne Skoke (Central Nova, Liberal)
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.  Exactly two years ago today, in my riding of Central Nova 26 coal miners were killed in the Westray coal mine explosion.  Can the minister advise this honourable House as to what his position is regarding the recovery of the remains of the deceased coal miners still entombed in the mine?

Mr. Dennis J. Mills (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry):
Mr. Speaker, all Canadians remember with sorrow the tragic accident that happened in the Westray mine some two years ago.  As the member knows, many volunteers risked their lives, albeit unsuccessfully, to try and rescue the lives and later on the bodies of the miners.  Right now the Government of Canada in conjunction with the Government of Nova Scotia has hired an expert who is working on this project.  Very soon the results of his study in terms of not only the remaining deposits in Westray but also the access to the remaining bodies will be made known to us.

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1994 October 21, page 7027
     http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/301/hansard-e/35-1/111_94-10-21/111GO1E.html#7027


Mr. John Duncan (North Island-Powell River, Reform):
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to begin second reading debate on Bill C-55 on behalf of the Reform Party.  It is important to recognize the importance of the mining industry to Yukon.  It is a major, non-government industry in a jurisdiction that is more than 70 per cent dependent on federal government spending.

In some ways one could look on debate of Bill C-55 as the end, the resolution, and the confirmation of the principles contained in Bill C-33 and Bill C-34.

The mining industry has a current campaigned called "Keep Mining in Canada".  Governments have tended to take the industry for granted in many jurisdictions where it has made operations very difficult, expensive, time consuming and uncertain.  Also we have a Canadian tax regime that can be considered unfriendly in international terms.

Within my riding there are several operating mines.  The BHP Utah mine, the Westmin mine, Texada mines and Quinsum Coal. Quinsum Coal has 25 employees who previously worked at the Westray mine in Nova Scotia.  We all know Westray is where they had the disaster.  These people feel very abused by actions of government...

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1994 November 28, page 8338
     http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/301/hansard-f/35-1/132_94-11-28/132SM1E.html


Mr. John Murphy (Annapolis Valley-Hants, Liberal):
Mr. Speaker, today in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, the Governor General, the Right Hon. Ramon Hnatyshyn, will present the medal of bravery to the heroes of the Westray coal mine disaster.  Close to 200 draegermen and barefaced miners will receive this decoration for their unselfish acts of bravery under very hazardous circumstances.  This is the first time in Canadian history that so many individuals have been awarded bravery decorations for a single incident.

I stand here today to salute those individuals for their heroic acts during this tragic time.  I urge each member of the House to take a moment and reflect on those who lost their lives in the Westray mine disaster.  Let us never forget the efforts of those individuals who worked so diligently in the aftermath of this tragedy.  Not only do they deserve our recognition but our deep and heartfelt thanks.

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1994 November 28, page 8340
     http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/301/hansard-e/35-1/132_94-11-28/132SM1E.html#8340


Mr. John Duncan (North Island-Powell River, Reform):
Mr. Speaker, the Westray mine in Nova Scotia was the scene of an explosion accident on May 9, 1992.  Twenty-six men lost their lives, eleven of whom are still entombed in the mine.  During the five day rescue operation conditions were present for another explosion.  Roof falls had to be crossed.  Lethal carbon monoxide gas which is an after product of a coal mine explosion was heavy in the mine.  Miners put aside their own safety in the hopes of finding their fellow workers.

In an unprecedented presentation 195 individuals of the rescue crew are receiving the Governor General's Medal of Bravery in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, today.  Fourteen of these individuals now live in my hometown of Campbell River, B.C., and work at the Quinsam coal mine 25 kilometres out of town.

I know my colleagues will join me in applauding these brave individuals who were involved in a tragedy which affected Canadians from coast to coast.

[boldface emphasis added]





 

1995






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1995 February 9, page 9418
     http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/301/hansard-e/35-1/149_95-02-09/149OQ1E.html#9418


Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg, BQ):
Mr. Speaker, may I remind the minister that we must distinguish between the events in Somalia and the events in Petawawa.  Section 45 of the National Defence Act authorizes him to establish a commission of inquiry immediately, rather than disband the regiment and wash his hands of the affair and punish no one except enlisted men.  How can the minister claim to deserve the confidence of this House and of the public when, on the very day he set about disbanding the Airborne Regiment, he concealed from the public the existence of a third tape?

Hon. David Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Liberal):
Mr. Speaker, I do not want to make light of the hon. member's intention, but the fact is that when we are talking about the existence of other tapes I do not know how many tapes are out there.  I do not know how many copies there are.  I do not know how many camera people there are.  What is obviously happening is that as modern technology is catching up with everyone, including the armed forces, people are taking tapes of certain activities and I do not know exactly what is out there.

With respect to the question of why, sure we have the authority to set up an inquiry right now.  There is a court decision now before the Supreme Court, the Westray Mine decision, that calls into question the fact that we could have an inquiry, a coroner's inquest or judicial proceedings all at the same time.

Once judicial proceedings were initiated, and they were initiated before we were elected, there was no choice but to adjourn the original inquiry.  What we are saying is once due process is followed with the existing courts martial, and that would be the middle of March, there will be an inquiry.  It will be public.  It will be headed by a civilian.  All these questions on how the regiment was fit for deployment to Somalia will be answered.

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1995 February 15
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session2/034_Feb_15_1995.html


Ms. Moorcroft:
...This Minister was also carrying on about the reopening of the Anvil Mine in 1985 and the deal that was struck with Curragh at that time.  The Minister made the assertion that their work with Anvil Range was much better than the work that was done by the New Democrats with Cyprus Anvil.  I would like to point out a couple of things.  First of all, the 1985 deal with Curragh was one that we are not all thrilled about.  We learned something from it.  I think the Sa Dena Hes mine agreement provided a better deal for the Kaska people in that area.  I have before me the Hansard from 1985, when the Minister who just spoke stood up and thanked the people who contributed to finding the solution to the reopening of the Faro mine.  He had nothing to say, at that time, about Ross River – nothing.  He said that we are very fortunate to have the entrepreneurial spirit alive in Canada as embodied in the people behind Curragh Resources.  He thanked the people who worked on it, thanked the mining industry, thanked the people in government and was very pleased to see the project that had taken so long finally coming to fruition for the benefit of many Yukoners.  That is what the Minister said in 1985.  He thanked Clifford Frame, he thanked the people in the Yukon government for bringing forward the deal that reopened the Faro mine, but he has changed his tune today...

Mr. Harding:
...I take particular exception to his statements criticizing the previous government for the bad deal that was reached in 1985.  We all know that it turned out to be a bad deal.  Curragh Resources did not live up to its word.  The government of the day was trying to come up with some kind of plan involving the people of the area – Ross River Dena and other people who wanted to get hired, and other businesses who wanted to have procurement from them in the Yukon – to come up with an arrangement that would have been beneficial to everybody involved.

I want to read from Hansard the comments of the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes, just after Mr. Penikett announced the deal that put together the reopening of the mine, on October 28, 1985.  In the ministerial statement that came down, he talked about the native people in Ross River and how the agreement was supposed to help, but unfortunately did not do that.  The Member who was a leader back then was not the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes and did not mention the people of Ross River once.  As a matter of fact, he said, and I will quote him: "One must say that we are very fortunate to have the entrepreneurial spirit alive in Canada, as embodied in the people behind Curragh Resources.  I think that group of people have done an awful lot of work.  They have struggled.  They know the industry and I would like to thank not only Mr. Clifford Frame, but those in association with him.  I am very pleased to see that this project that has taken so long is finally coming to fruition for the benefit of many Yukoners."

During Question Period on that very same day – October 28, 1985 – he made reference to everybody but the people of the Ross River Dena.  Every time the Government Leader, Mr. Penikett, talked about the effort made in 1985 that was supposed to be lived up to by Curragh Resources, the now Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes had nothing positive to say.  As a matter of fact, when the deal was reached to provide benefit to Ross River, he accused the government of disguising an affirmative action program to put people in Ross River to work.  He gave it a very negative context.  The Government Leader of the time said that, with respect to local hire, they particularly had in mind the people of the community of Ross River, which was near the mine site.  He said that Mr. Sultan, the vice-president of the corporation, had an early discussion with that band on that subject.  The Government Leader said that, contrary to the Member's view that everything was supposed to be done for them by Big Brother, that was not the case.  The problem was that Curragh Resources did not live up to its end.  Just after the Government Leader said that, the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes asked if it was really an affirmative action program and, if so, why the Government Leader was trying to disguise it by using the word "positive".  It is not hard to tell what he thought about hiring the people of Ross River when he was not the Member for that particular area.  Time changes everything.  He is now politically smart enough to get on the slip-stream of the deal that was created by the good work of the people of Ross River and Anvil Range Mining.  Incidentally, that was ordered in a court in Ontario by, I believe, Mr. Justice Farley in response to the representations made by Chief Norman Sterriah, who travelled down there to make that representation.  Mr. Justice said the deal must be reached with Anvil Range Mining and the Ross River Dena.  I applaud that.  I think it was wonderful.  It was about time a judge ordered a company to do something that it should have done a long time ago...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1995 February 20
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session2/036_Feb_20_1995.html


Mr. Harding:
...With respect to his great work in negotiating an agreement with Anvil Range Mining for the Yukon people in the communities, what I read into the record speaks very clearly.  I read pages and pages of the Minister crooning over Clifford Frame, what a wonderful man he was, and that he was so happy the entrepreneurial spirit was alive in the country today.  After all, on that day in 1985, we witnessed one great Canadian Conservative Party politician talking to one great Canadian mining entrepreneur.  They had quite a love-in that day in this Legislature.  The public record of that is clear.  When the government tried to talk about the negotiations underway between Ralph Sultan and the Ross River Dena, what the Minister said, in a negative fashion, was certainly indicative of people on the extreme right.  The Member for Hootalinqua, and now the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes, responded to Mr. Penikett's request for positive action in almost a hissing fashion, that if this positive action was an affirmative action plan, why would Mr. Penikett cover it up?  To anyone who reads Hansard, it is obvious what the Minister was getting at on that day.  Whatever heat the present Minister spoke about local hire, he was not talking about anyone from the communities around Faro.  He was talking about Whitehorse and his riding.  That, too, was obvious from Hansard.  Whenever the local hire question was asked, the government of the day wanted to concentrate on the people of Ross River and there were supposed to be negotiations with Ralph Sultan.  At that time, the agreement was a failure.  There is no doubt about it.  The best-efforts clause that was negotiated was ineffective.  There are no ifs, ands or buts about that.  What came of that learning experience for all of us – and given the comments made by the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes that day, he also learned some things about Curragh, too, after his earlier love of the company – the Sa Dena Hes deal was much better.  That provided quite a significant benefit to the Kaska people.  If one spoke to many members of the Kaska today, I do not think they would be too upset with the way the Sa Dena Hes deal was put together.  The Kaska were involved in the negotiations.  The lessons were learned from the Faro agreement of 1985, and a much better deal was struck.  The deal that was just reached in Ross River is an excellent deal and one that I feel very good about...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1995 March 8
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session2/046_Mar_08_1995.html


Mr. Cable:
...I believe the Minister has witnessed, over the last two years, the chaos in the electrical system that has been caused by the shutdown of Curragh.  We saw that once before.  It would seem to me that stabilization in that area should be one of the goals of the Department of Economic Development.  Is the Minister not prepared to review that situation with a view to stabilizing both the Energy Corporation and the flow of cash from the mining project?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:
That certainly would be our hope, but in the Curragh situation – what was the Member's terminology, "take or pay" – we would not have anything anyway.  We possibly could have on the sale, if we could have somehow tied it to the actual sale of the mine, but when it shut down we would have been more or less out of luck.

Mr. Cable:
We would not have been out of luck, of course, if we had a first charge on the claims or on the buildings.  If the mining corporation is looking for fairly substantial concessions from the taxpayer, I suggest to the Minister that protecting the taxpayer should be one of his department's first orders of business.

Hon. Mr. Fisher:
I will certainly take that representation.  I agree with the Member, and we would hope to do that.  There is no question about that.  We would hope to have a good security on whatever our loan may be, but I do not want to promise here that we will have full security on whatever the loan may be.

Mr. Penikett:
It is a fascinating discussion.  One is bound to point out with respect to one of Curragh Resources' mines that if there had not been a take-or-pay proposition in place, the Westray mine probably would never have opened and that tragedy would never have happened there.  That is one of the ironies one gets into in dealing with these public policy questions.  Without sounding offensive, I want to say to the Minister that unfortunately his description of the industrial support policy makes it sound as if the principles are so flexible they hardly qualify as principles any longer.  None of them are firm.  There is no real foundation to the policy.  In fact, as has been described, almost any possible scenario imaginable could occur.  We really do not know very much more about how this policy would work than when it was still in the draft discussion stage.  ...The political line coming from business is that business does not want subsidies.  They want certainty; they want to know what the costs are, and if they can predict the energy costs over time, that kind of certainty is much more important to them than the political vagaries to which subsidies may be subject.  Would the Minister agree with that?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:
I suppose it could be construed as a subsidy, but we are not really talking about subsidies.  We are talking about infrastructure support.  A few weeks ago – whenever we were in this debate before – I believe I said that if a mine were to open in New Brunswick, where there is a lot of mining, the distance to a major highway, a power grid and the ocean is very minuscule compared to a mine that may open up in the Bonnet Plume area, for instance, or even Loki Gold in Dawson.  If there are opportunities in both New Brunswick and the Yukon, we would like to see the people putting the project together on a level playing field, so that there would not be much difference in opening a mine in either the Yukon or New Brunswick.

Mr. Penikett:
There is not only the question of infrastructure, there is also a question of timing – the current state of world markets.  I do not doubt that, if the iron ore and the coal in the Bonnet Plume had been discovered in the last century, that part of the Yukon may have become as significant as Kiruna did to northern Sweden, which was at one point the largest iron ore mine in the world with access to all of the European markets.  Kiruna has now got a tiny fraction of its workforce at the mine and only survives because it makes specialized products that its competitors, who are digging the stuff by hand on the Brazilian coast and loading it straight on to ships, cannot compete with.  The realities are that no amount of subsidy or investment in infrastructure will change that.  As Mr. Cable said, the problem with the infrastructure calculation should be obvious to anyone who has looked at the history of mines here in the last few decades.  I remember the mine at Clinton Creek, where I worked, was supposed to be a 25-year mine.  I think Mr. Chretien signed an agreement promising a 25-year mine.  It was to be 75-percent native hire, not just local hire.  Within weeks, that was all fiction.  They began accelerating production at the mine almost immediately by doubling the capacity of the mill, and it became a 10-year mine, not a 25-year mine, and the huge investment this territory had in the school building and other infrastructure was lost.  The school building was auctioned at $6,000 or $7,000, with full fuel tanks – a building that had cost considerably more to be put there.  What happened, as often happens around the world, is the costs were socialized and the benefits were privatized.  Since that company did most of its hiring outside the territory – at least in the first few years – we did not even get the benefit of the jobs that were promised.  My stance is that you cannot be soft and mushy about this stuff.  If you are going to get any benefits for the territory in a deal like this, you have to quantify them.  You cannot send someone out to negotiate without a mandate, and you have to be very clear in your mandate what it is that you want.  You have to be prepared to tie aid – to use international terminology – to some specific performance.  If we think that we are going to get our money back over the lifetime of a 25-year mine, and then, as the Minister himself conceded, it turns out to be a 10-year mine, we have lost our investment, and we have no way of recovering it.  Unless there is a real hardball agenda on the part of the government, in terms of mine jobs, training opportunities and business opportunities, as difficult as those are to negotiate – and I concede that, having dealt with a few companies on these kinds of things – I think that we are just breeding disappointment.  To change gears a bit, I want to ask about the application of this policy on a real project that is on the horizon: Division Mountain coal.  From various public statements made by people in the private and public sector about this project, I understand that, for the project to be economic, the developer would have to build a significant surplus capacity in its plant.  In other words, it would have to be able to generate electricity surplus to our needs.  I understand also that all three of the utilities in British Columbia, Alaska and the Yukon have talked about selling power to each other.  It is a great idea to sell power to each other, except that if we all have surplus capacity, then there is no market in this region.  Also, in discussion of this surplus capacity, we have heard again mention of government guarantees, time and time again.  Whether one calls it a subsidy or a guarantee, or some long-term agreement, such as the take-or-pay arrangements with Westray, once again the government may be asked to absorb a very significant risk without having any obvious benefit.  Let me ask this question: would the Minister not agree that if we had a plant like this come onstream, whatever the arrangements were between the government and the people of the Yukon about seeing it come into place, and if there were significant surplus capacity, it would be the other electricity consumers in the territory who would have to pay the costs of increased power bills to cover the additional cost.  That might be a good arrangement from a developer's point of view, but it would not, in that scenario, be a good arrangement for local consumers.  Would the Minister agree with that?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:
Certainly I agree with it.  If there was major surplus power from that plant that we were never able to realize and had locked ourselves into some sort of arrangement where we had to pay for the surplus regardless, that would not be a good deal.  I would hope that we would not get into that kind of situation...

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1995 April 28, page 11935
     http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/301/hansard-e/35-1/190_95-04-28/190SM1E.html#11935


Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat, Reform):
Mr. Speaker, every day Canadians across the country enter a dangerous workplace. Canadians remember and mourn the 26 miners tragically taken in the Westray coal mine explosion.  This disaster only serves to underline the brutal reality of certain types of work.

Today is a day of mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace.  Canadians must learn from the mistakes of the past, take action in the present and ensure their health and safety are protected in the future.  Occupational health and safety should be foremost in the minds of management, labour and governments when decisions are made.  A safe workplace translates into a productive workforce and a strong and vital economy.  From the farm, to the mine, to the factory, to the lumber mill the Reform Party pays respect to all who put their lives on the line to make ends meet.

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1995 May 9, page 12365
     http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/301/hansard-f/35-1/197_95-05-09/197SM1E.html#12365


Mr. David Chatters (Athabasca, Reform):
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to mark the third anniversary of the Westray mine disaster.  The tragedy claimed the lives of 26 miners and plunged the community of Plymouth, Nova Scotia into a state of grief.  Sadly in many ways the healing process will not begin until an ongoing public inquiry has done its work and miners' families have answers to the most basic questions — why?

As a guest in the riding of Central Nova last summer I was struck by the enormous sense of community and warmth among the people who had to bear this tragedy.  The fact that hazards of mining are well recognized does not make the tragedy any easier to bear.

It follows that today our sympathy should be with the miners' families and the community as they commemorate those who died.  We should also recognize the courage of not only those who labour far beneath the earth's surface but of those who risked their lives in an effort to rescue the survivors of the blast.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of the Westray disaster, the families and the community still mourning the 26 men who lost their lives underground.

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1995 May 17, page 12750
     http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/301/hansard-e/35-1/203_95-05-17/203PB2E.html#12750


Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, Reform):
Mr. Speaker... I accept the word of the commissioner.  I hope that this commissioner will make an intense effort in the near future to advance the investigation or to accept that the investigation is over and the time has come to move on.  But until that time the question is, will a royal commission affect any subsequent criminal proceedings?

Again the member for York South-Weston is impeccable in his timing.  Less than two weeks ago the Supreme Court of Canada handed down its decision on the holding of a public inquiry into the Westray coal mine disaster at the same time that criminal proceedings are under way.

The decision in that case was that the court should be most hesitant to interfere with interests of holding a public inquiry.  However, the court limited its decision specifically to the Westray case and would not speculate on other cases.

For example, the supreme court pointed out that the Westray criminal case was being tried in front of a judge alone.  As well, the court believed that the commissioner of any public inquiry would not compel the accused to testify at the inquiry until the criminal case was concluded.  Thus some significant considerations have to be resolved before a royal commission into the Air-India bombing is conducted.

Do we want to sacrifice any subsequent criminal charges for the sake of holding a royal commission today?  I think not.  This is where a royal commission would create a great many problems.

In the Westray decision the supreme court recognized the protection of the charter to any potentially accused.  They could be compelled to testify in front of the royal commission but their testimony could not be used at the trial.  That is a given.

What would cause even greater problems in pursuing criminal charges against those responsible for bombing Air-India is the difficulty created by the derivative evidence.

This means that if any new information comes out at the royal commission, at a subsequent criminal proceeding the defence could claim that the crown was only able to proceed with charges with the evidence that was a result of compulsory incriminating testimony and therefore the evidence would not be admissible.

In addition, in the Westray case the court ruled that the testimony of the accused must not be published and the report of the inquiry must remain confidential to ensure that any accused received a fair opportunity at trial.

The whole point of a royal commission should be to bring the truth about Air-India to light, and this could not be done if the evidence could not be published.  Our first priority must be to bring those responsible for the Air-India bombing to trial...

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1995 June 22, page 14414
     http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/301/hansard-e/35-1/224_95-06-22/224RP1E.html#14414


Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon, NDP):
Madam Speaker, I have several petitions here.  The first petition is from residents of Faro, Yukon, who did not receive vacation pay, severance pay, or pay in lieu of notice when the firm Curragh Resources was declared bankrupt.  Therefore, the petitioners request that the Minister of Human Resources Development investigate the situation and take the necessary steps to ensure that this worker and other workers who are laid off do not have severance packages, including earnings, in the final calculation of UI benefits.

[boldface emphasis added]





 

1996






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1996 February 29
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session2/085_Feb_29_1996.html


Mr. Harding, MLA for Faro:
...There have been proponents of the construction of some coal-fired electrical generation and perhaps coal projects, but recent comments in the local media talked about feasibility only on the basis that they could obtain guaranteed demand contracts with the Yukon government.  If the Yukon government is committed to coal in principle, are they committed to those types of arrangements in principle?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:
I think the Member would have to speak to the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation.  There is diesel being used and if the diesel can be replaced with power from a coal plant, then I do not see any problem with the government giving them any sort of guarantee.  There may be a bit of a risk if we can displace 15 megawatts of diesel power, but they want to sell us 20 megawatts.  What do you do in that situation?  That is a question that may very well have to be asked and answered at some point in the future.

Mr. Harding, MLA for Faro:
This government, then, is not opposed to investigating the potential of an arrangement whereby they are giving a company a guaranteed demand of coal purchase.  Is that correct?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:
That is correct.

Mr. Harding, MLA for Faro:
Is the Minister aware that that was the arrangement followed by the Nova Scotia government with regard to the Westray coal project – that a guaranteed demand was approved by the Nova Scotia government but that it has proved to be a very bad arrangement for that government?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:
I think the bad arrangement there was dealing with Clifford Frame, but the Government of Nova Scotia, as I am sure the Member is well aware, was also investing a lot of money in the actual mine.

Mr. Harding, MLA for Faro:
I can remember the Conservatives opposite, who are now in government, just lauding Clifford Frame, saying what a great fellow he was.  I remember the speeches in 1985 by the Leader of the Official Opposition, now the Member for Ross River-Southern Lakes, just complimenting this great mining entrepreneur for coming in and starting this mine up.  But hindsight is 20/20.  The Minister of Tourism says I was still saying that two years ago; I challenge him to find oneHansardquote of that.  He will need more than a computer to find it – he will need a printer because he will have to make it up.  I would like to point out that it is an interesting policy for this government.  Have there been any discussions with the department, the Minister or his officials and any companies concerning this issue?

Hon. Mr. Fisher:
There have been discussions with people who are interested in building the plant.  We have talked about what is the smallest plant that can be established and still be economically viable.  We have received different versions from different people – as low as 20 megawatts to as high as 50 megawatts.  There have been those types of discussions, but there have not been any actual negotiations on an actual guarantee of supply...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1996 March 13
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/28-legislature/session2/088_Mar_13_1996.html


Mr. Harding, MLA for Faro:
...I think it is fair to say that Curragh had the plug pulled on it... Clear and simple, they flat-lined Curragh.  That was it.  It was over... The specific gravity of the gold at Ketza River was overestimated, causing its closure.  The closure of Sa Dena Hes was a classic case of Curragh's debt load and associated problems because of the Westray disaster, along with the Faro mine.  These closures were disappointing...

Hon. Mr. Phillips:
...The Member for Faro also made the comment that we pulled the plug on Curragh, and that we are the reason Curragh went down.  Well, I am really pleased that we pulled the plug on Clifford Frame, because we would have been another $30 million in the hole.  As the Member for Faro said, given the money, Clifford would have been living down in his California townhouse, soaking up the sun at the expense of the Curragh workers and at the expense of Yukon taxpayers.  We made the right decision with Curragh, and I think most people in the Yukon, except the New Democratic Party, agree with that.  Mines should be able to exist on their own, for the most part.  It is the role of government to provide infrastructure.  It is not the role of government to operate the mine, as Clifford Frame wanted us to do...

[boldface emphasis added]






Saskatchewan Legislature, Regina
Hansard, 1996 March 15,   page 310
     http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/hansard/23L1S/96-03-15.pdf


Mine Safety Award Presented to Tyson Mining Corporation


Mr. Kim Trew:
Mr. Speaker: Back here in Saskatchewan, I'm pleased to report that as a former safety officer and as a former miner, I know the importance of workplace safety.  One only has to look at the workers' compensation records or the Westray mine disaster to have that point made bluntly.  We all know that the potash industry is doing very well in Saskatchewan. It is also winning awards for safety in the workplace.  Yesterday the Hon. Minister of Labour was present for a special award ceremony in Esterhazy.  Congratulations are in order for Tyson Mining Corporation, which operates at the IMC (International Minerals and Chemical Corporation (Canada) Ltd.) K2 potash mine at Esterhazy, for being presented with an award for workplace safety.  Mr. Speaker, the workers' job is to control the massive flooding problems at the mine, at times under hazardous conditions.  What is truly amazing is there has been no lost-time workplace accident at this mine for six years – a first for Saskatchewan and a first for Canada...

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1996 March 26
     http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/201/301/hoc_comm-e/reso/35-2/evidence/12_96-03-26/reso12_blk101.html


Standing Committee on Human Resources Development

Considering Bill C-12, An Act
respecting Employment Insurance in Canada


Mr. Yvon Godin (United Steelworkers of America, Bathurst Office):
...At first glance, that looks like one way of providing a reasonable disincentive for the lazy and the dropouts.  However, you just have to consider the miners and their testimony during the Westray inquiry.  They confirmed that they chose not to complain about the working conditions that weren't safe any more because they were afraid of being fired and losing their eligibility to unemployment insurance.  So you can see they didn't resign because they were afraid of the real disaster which was losing their eligibility to unemployment insurance.  How many of those 26 people died because they kept on working in that deadly hole for that very same reason?

Such requirements have nothing to do with a system designed to protect workers rather than punish them or, as in the Westray case, to kill them.  I am a former miner and the Westray affair is something that hits close to home.

Let me give you an example.  The public investigation into the Westray mine has clearly revealed that the governments and inspectors concealed facts and failed to assume their safety responsibilities.  We know that the miners went to find out what their unemployment insurance entitlements were and that they were told that if they claimed unemployment insurance, they would lose their jobs and if they resigned, they would not be entitled to unemployment insurance.

Which one of you is able to live without money and look after a family and children?  It led these people straight to the grave...

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1996 March 29,   page 26
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-4/h96mar29.htm#[Page%2026]

Introduction of Bills

Bill No. 1
Entitled an Act Respecting the Interprovincial Enforcement of Subpoenas.
(Hon. William Gillis)
Bill No. 2...
Bill No. 3...
Bill No. 4...
Bill No. 5...
Bill No. 6...

Mr. Speaker:
Ordered that these bills be read a second time on a future day.




Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1996 April 3
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/2nd-36th/vol11/h011_3.html


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):
...In the middle of the Westray mining incident where we have horror story after horror story after horror story going on about the lack of backup for working people who had to make the choice of whether to potentially get killed in a mine shaft versus getting food for their children.  Unfortunately, they had to make a decision to put their own life at risk, and some of them — for 26 or 28 — unfortunately lost their life because they needed the pay and needed the support...

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1996 April 4,   page 310
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-4/h96apr04.htm#[Page%20310]


Public Bills for Second Reading


Hon. Richard Mann, Government House Leader:
Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 1.

Bill No. 1 — Interprovincial Subpoena Act


Hon. William Gillis, Minister of Justice:
Madam Speaker, I rise on this occasion to speak briefly on Bill No. 1, An Act Respecting the Interprovincial Enforcement of Subpoenas.  In so doing, I move that this bill be now read a second time.

As honourable members would know, the bill is designed to allow subpoenas from Nova Scotia to be recognized and enforced in other provinces or territories.  Jurisdictions that have adopted the uniform Act on which it is based within their own legislation.

As members would know, Madam Speaker, it is a uniform reciprocal Act adopted and recommended by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada in 1974.  Since then, starting with Manitoba in 1975, the Interprovincial Subpoena Act has been adopted in every common law province in Canada, with the exception of Nova Scotia.  It also has been adopted in the Yukon.  All these jurisdictions have had the Act in place since 1981 or earlier, with the exception of Prince Edward Island, which enacted it nine years ago.

Mr. Speaker, the government feels that the enactment of this piece of legislation in Nova Scotia is long overdue.  The proposed Act will be of benefit in legal matters, where it is not now possible to subpoena persons from other jurisdictions within Canada, for the purposes of legal matters here.  The bill would permit a party to a proceeding to obtain a subpoena in Nova Scotia for a person who is located elsewhere in Canada.  That subpoena could then be sent to a court in a reciprocating jurisdiction, with a certificate of the issuing court in Nova Scotia.  The order then would be enforceable in the other jurisdiction.

Of course it would be necessary to send the appropriate witness fees and travelling expenses at the same time, in order for the subpoena to be enforced.  These fees and expenses would be set by regulations.

Mr. Speaker, the fact that the government has brought forward this legislation has attracted some attention in the context of the Westray Mine public inquiry.  Although the bill is designed to deal with all civil litigation matters arising in Nova Scotia, also it may be of assistance to this Commission of Inquiry.  As all honourable members would know, in the draft bill that we are considering, the definition of a court is broadly drafted to include a board, commission, tribunal or other body that is designated by regulation.

The Commissioner of the Westray Inquiry has written to me urging passage of this bill during this session.  Legal counsel to the commission probably will use this legislation in its ongoing efforts to compel attendance of witnesses.

The commission is aware that with reciprocal legislation there may be some uncertainty in doing what it wants, due to different definitions of courts in other jurisdictions.  In most provinces the definition of court in their reciprocal legislation does not include designated boards, commissions, tribunals or other bodies.  As a result, Madam Speaker, there is a question whether their courts will treat the commission as a court.

The fact that the commissioner has the same authority as a Superior Court Judge, however, may help the courts of other provinces determine that the Westray Inquiry can be considered a court for the purposes of their Act.  The foregoing has been canvassed with legal staff for the commission by staff within my department.  I am advised that the commission is aware of this issue.

Madam Speaker, it is important that no one be under the impression that this bill has been brought forward simply because we have an extremely important public inquiry underway into the tragic events of the Westray Mine.  This is legislation that will have potential application in many legal actions in the province.

As I mentioned, it is in place in all the other common law provinces.  As a result, the Government of Nova Scotia feels it is appropriate that our province join this reciprocating legal regime.

Madam Speaker, in drawing my remarks to a close, I want to ask all honourable members to support this legislation on second reading.  I would like to have this bill moved through all of the legislative stages as quickly as reasonably possible and, of course, the first step would be once it is approved here to have hearings at the Law Amendments Committee at the next stage.  Thank you.

Madam Speaker:
The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

Dr. John Hamm:
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise and provide brief remarks in support for Bill No. 1, An Act Respecting the Interprovincial Enforcement of Subpoenas.  I listened with interest to the words of the Minister of Justice describing this particular piece of legislation and its applications and I find nothing with which I disagree.

It is interesting that in this particular piece of legislation, in Clause 2(b), " 'subpoena' means a subpoena, summons or other document issued by a court requiring a person within a province other than the province of the issuing court to attend as a witness to produce documents or other things or to testify".  I think if there is a clause in this particular piece of legislation that brings it all together, I think it is perhaps that one.  As well, the minister made reference to the fact that within this piece of legislation, it will, by way of its drafting, apply to designated boards, commissions and tribunals and the minister did make reference to the fact that this legislation will not necessarily, in this particular regard, be interpreted that broadly in other jurisdictions.  It certainly is a step in the right direction that witnesses residing anywhere in Canada can, in fact, be called upon to be in attendance at certain hearings and proceedings, regardless of which province they are occurring.

In general, I am pleased to get up and support the Minister of Justice in this particular piece of legislation.  As well, I feel it will be most useful to the continuance of the Westray Inquiry and I support that statement.  I feel that this piece of legislation which is already in effect in other provinces, is a forward step and enhances and strengthens our system of justice.  I will be supporting the legislation.

Madam Speaker:
The honourable member for Hants West.

Mr. Ronald Russell:
Madam Speaker, I too will be supporting the legislation, it is good legislation.  As the minister has said, it may be of some assistance with regard to the Westray Inquiry but I think it has ramifications far beyond that in that we are putting in place a piece of legislation that is not just for something of immediate concern but something that is of ongoing concern through the years.

I didn't hear the minister, however, in his opening remarks enumerate what provinces are part of the interprovincial agreement.  As I understand, at the present time there is the Province of New Brunswick and Ontario and I think one other western province.  (Interruption) I beg your pardon?  I appreciate the minister advising that he will do that when he closes his debate.

I was wondering why the Ministers of Justice across Canada in their annual meetings, whether or not there has been a protocol set up for mirror legislation to be adopted by all provinces.  I would think that this is something that has import for all provinces, specifically with regard to the custody of children where we have mothers or fathers taking children from one province to another province and then the parent who had the original custody having incredible difficulty regaining possession of that child.  It would seem to me, particularly at the present time, that is something of great importance and is something that should be adopted by all provinces.

I appreciate the fact the minister has brought this bill forward.  I appreciate that it does have jurisdiction in the Province of Ontario because, as I understand it, that is the province of most interest at the present time with regard to the Westray Inquiry.  So I will be voting for this legislation, Madam Speaker, on second reading.

Madam Speaker:
The honourable member for Kings West.

Mr. George Moody:
Madam Speaker, I too will be supporting this piece of legislation.  I listened with interest to the Minister of Justice in indicating he wanted this to be passed as quickly as possible.  The minister indicated that this has been approved by all the other provinces except Nova Scotia, that is part of this group, and I guess I am wondering what clicked the switch with the Minister of Justice.  I have no difficulty in us doing this bill through the process as quickly as possible, especially in light of Westray.  I happen to think that probably that is the reason we are trying to do it quickly although the minister sort of indicated that was or wasn't.  I wasn't clear, but I would assume the reason we are doing this quickly is because of the Westray situation.

I cannot imagine why the government didn't bring this forward last fall or some other time if it was as urgent as the minister had indicated.  Maybe it was a letter from the Westray Inquiry that prompted the minister to bring it forward, although he hasn't said that is the case, but I guess I want the minister to explain to me what is the urgency.  We have had it on the books for a number of years and if there isn't a crisis, if there isn't something that we should be doing, if it is not Westray, what is the urgency that we are all of a sudden putting this through?

Now I agree with the principle of this bill and agree that we should put it through, and agree that we do it as quickly as possible, but in listening to the minister introduce the bill, I wasn't clear as to the rationale of all of a sudden why we are in a hurry and one moment we are or we are not doing it for Westray.  Obviously this will affect more than Westray and I understand that.  All the news reports I am hearing are that the Westray Inquiry needs this and needs it as quickly as possible, though the minister says that that is not the case.  I would like for him to be upfront with us and say.  If it is, I have no difficulty with it.  If there is another reason that I am not understanding, then I would like to know that, too.

But I want you to know, Madam Speaker, and all members to know, that I think this is good legislation.  It happens to be the number one piece of legislation this session, and probably one of the most important pieces that will pass and probably one of the few where we will all agree that it is the right thing to do for all the right reasons.  I will be voting for this bill and look forward to the minister answering my questions in summarizing the bill.

Madam Speaker:
The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

Mr. Robert Chisholm:
Madam Speaker, I rise to speak in support of Bill No. 1, An Act Respecting the Interprovincial Enforcement of Subpoenas.  I understand that the introduction of this bill is precisely for the purposes of facilitating the Westray Inquiry officials to be able to bring in out-of-province witnesses that they would like to have testify; senior officials with Curragh Resources and Westray in order to provide testimony at the inquiry.

I think Nova Scotians are recognizing every day that that inquiry goes on just how important it is that we go through this process, just how important it is that we as a government, as a province, get to the bottom of what it was that led up to that tragic explosion and the death of those 26 miners and what followed in terms of the response by not only the company involved but also this government and its officials.

Some of the issues that have been raised, I think, are truly terrifying in their implications, and only by having a fully exhaustive process of hearing from witnesses, will we be able to get the true picture of exactly what happened and that will involve hearing from senior officials of the mining company, Madam Speaker, as well, of course, from the politicians and the senior public officials who were involved in making some key decisions which led to the opening and the development of this mine and, in fact, to the way this mine was allowed to operate.  Those are important questions, Madam Speaker, that I think it is incumbent upon us to ensure get answered.

I am hopeful that, in fact, this bill will do that although I understand from newspaper articles — I didn't hear the minister when he introduced the bill at second reading — that there is some question as to whether this bill will, in fact, have the effect of its stated purpose, that it will be successful as a tool to bring people back from Ontario or any other province.  I would certainly like to hear some assurance from the Minister of Justice that, in fact, this Act will go some distance to do that and, failing that, that his officials and perhaps officials of other departments, including the Intergovernmental Affairs, are involved or would be involved in discussions with the Province of Ontario, in one specific example, and maybe other provinces, to ensure that whatever is necessary to ensure that whoever we need to come and testify before the inquiry is done so that we can bring those people back and hear from them their story as to what happened, their role in that, and have them answer any questions we may feel appropriate at the time.

So, Madam Speaker, let me just say that I think this is extremely important if, in fact, the bill is allowed to have the impact that has been suggested.  I think we need to get to the bottom of this.  I wish we had been able to do that a year or two ago.  I wish the process had gone quicker.  Nonetheless, I am extremely pleased that we are now in the process.  Anything we can do to assist the process, be that passing legislation or whatever, certainly the NDP caucus is firmly behind that process.  Thank you.

Madam Speaker:
The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

Mr. Brooke Taylor:
Madam Speaker, I too would like to speak in support of this Bill No. 1, the Interprovincial Subpoena Act.  I would like to commend the Justice Minister for coming forward with this legislation.  I don't think any of us in this House forget the mining disaster that happened back in May 1992.  I believe that any legislation should be based on rationale, logic and, in fact, be well reasoned.  This legislation at least appears to be based on a sound and very justifiable rationale.

Madam Speaker, I understand that legislation like this is perhaps being considered in other jurisdictions.  Unless we have other Canadian jurisdictions with mirror legislation, and perhaps the minister can correct me if I am wrong, I don't believe that this legislation can really be fully effected and provide a useful purpose unless it is respected and recognized by other Canadian jurisdictions.  I know that perhaps the Minister of Justice can clarify that a little bit for me and I would certainly request that he does.

Now there has been a lot of interest in the Westray Inquiry.  I know the minister referenced it and other speakers have certainly spoken about that terrible disaster.  It is unfortunate, Madam Speaker, that those who should come and testify and appear before that inquiry really don't have any legal mechanism in place, or there is no legal mechanism in place that requires them to do so.

With the passage of this Act, Bill No. 1, I believe we are taking a step in the right direction.  Thank you.

Madam Speaker:
If I recognize the honourable Minister of Justice it will be to close the debate.

Mr. William Gillis:
Madam Speaker, I will just try to provide a little bit of information that was requested on second reading and I want to thank all honourable members for their support of the bill and their contribution to the debate.

The main reason this legislation is here, aside from the fact it is good legislation in any event, is that late in the last session of the House, we had a contact from the Westray Inquiry asking about the possibility of us bringing it forward.  That contact came late November into December when the other session was just about over.  We indicated at that time that we had been there for some months and were attempting to conclude our session but it did not seem feasible that we could get the bill through at that time but we would make our best effort to have the bill brought forward as early as possible in the next session.  It is Bill No. 1 so I guess we kept that part of the bargain.

I suppose you can argue that the government of which I am a part and my department and my ministry had two years and ten months, maybe we should have brought it forward sooner.  Well, it didn't come to my attention and maybe that is my fault but when it did come to my attention, my officials and myself worked on it and brought it forward at the first opportunity.

Another point that another honourable member brought up is that in which provinces it applies.  There is general reciprocal legislation that applies to courts, basically of civil matters to get people to come from other provinces and the two territories and it applies across the board.  The legislation that is before us goes as far as we can because we include not only courts but commissions and tribunals and inquiries.  So, it does apply in our case if this bill is passed the way it is.  However, we can only be sure that this law will be effective in other provinces is in those provinces where there are similar provisions and that is Alberta, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories.  The same provisions do not apply in those provinces, just to conclude but the officials of the Inquiry believe, since the Inquiry is headed by a Superior Court Judge, a Supreme Court Justice and you have the same rules as a court in the Inquiry they think they will be able to argue successfully in other provinces such as Ontario, for example, to get the subpoena rights in the same way as if it were in the bill.  That is the approach but there is nothing more we can do.  Our bill is covering all of the bases but we can't dictate the legislation in other provinces which exists.

Mr. Ronald Russell:
Would the honourable minister permit a question?  Basically, I think the minister has answered my question and that was the point I was trying to make was that this is not mirror legislation across Canada, it is only in two or three provinces.  I was wondering why the minister couldn't persuade his colleagues across Canada to come forward with mirror legislation?  I am sure that it must be to the advantage of all provinces to have that availability to serve subpoenas in that fashion?

Mr. Gillis:
Madam Speaker, I will undertake, at the first opportunity I have to raise that but the fact of the matter is we have uniform legislation that applies in all provinces except Quebec in civil matters; Quebec has a different law, different procedures there.  So, not including Quebec, all of the other provinces and the territories have the subpoena powers.  It is only several that have gone beyond that.  I will certainly take that opportunity but remember, we are talking about a law that was based on recommendations that came forward in 1974; the first one of the provinces adopted the recommendation in 1975 and the last province was Prince Edward Island which was in 1987, they were the last of the provinces but Nova Scotia did not do it and we are only now coming forward to join the group.  So, whatever the case may be, I can raise the matter of extension and I will do that but I think we have to be realistic, to try to say, well, you know, you might want witnesses from Ontario when you have a government there that has their own agenda for us to contact Premier Harris and say, look, we have a problem down in Nova Scotia, Mr. Premier.  We think you should adjust your legislative agenda to do this even a matter as worthwhile as may be.  We are doing it and we think you should do it.  I will raise it at the opportunity with my colleagues next month at the Ministers of Justice meeting, but those are the facts of the matter and I am just laying it out in that way.

Before I sit down, I just want to say, this is good legislation.  I think it is good in general because it will help in many matters, civil matters.  Now, in criminal matters, we don't have to worry, because in criminal matters the federal Criminal Code applies and you can, obviously, subpoena from anywhere in the country.  If somebody kidnapped a child, for example, somebody mentioned that, well, if it is a criminal offence there isn't a problem.  But there are other family related matters on property or something that this law will help us.  More than that, it will help us with inquiries in the designated provinces and it also will give the commission an opportunity to argue before the courts.  They believe, with their solicitors, they have a reasonable chance.

Like I said, I hope all honourable members will support this and hopefully next week, the Law Amendments Committee can be convened, we will have hearings and we will move this bill on through the stages.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker:
The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 1, entitled An Act Respecting the Interprovincial Enforcement of Subpoenas.

Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye.  Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1996 April 15,   page 569
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-4/h96apr15.htm#[Page%20569]


Public Bills for Third Reading


Hon. Richard Mann, Government House Leader:
Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 1.

Bill No. 1 — Interprovincial Subpoena Act

Mr. Speaker:
The honourable Government House Leader.

Hon. Richard Mann:
Mr. Speaker, in absence of the minister I will move third reading of Bill No. 1, the Interprovincial Subpoena Act.

Mr. Speaker:
Is the House ready for the question?  The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 1.  Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye.  Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.  Ordered that this bill do pass.  Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk.  Ordered that the bill be engrossed.




Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1996 April 17,   page 706
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-4/h96apr17.htm#[Page%20706]


Opposition Members' Business

Motions other than Government Motions

Res. No. 57, re Environ. — Stellarton:
Strip Mine Permit Hold


Dr. John Hamm, Leader of the Opposition:
Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak to this resolution.  I encourage all members of the House to pay some attention to the details of my presentation to gain a full understanding of what has happened to the residents of Stellarton with the permitting of Pioneer Coal for a surface strip mine in the so-called Wimpey pit area of our town.

Since the first license to mine coal in Pictou County, which was let in 1807, coal has been a major part of our history.  It is interesting to note that the earliest underground workings in our coal seam were in the so-called Foord seam.  The Wimpey pit area is a project again involving that same Foord seam, the thickest seam of coal anywhere in North America; 40 feet of solid coal.  In the area concerned, the Foord seam actually is only a few feet under the ground and becomes deeper as the seam slopes away to the north and the east.

The permitting, which was issued as of March 4, 1996, allows the extraction, over the next thirteen years, of some 2.6 million tons of coal.  The Wimpey pit area in Stellarton is immediately adjacent to the small community known as Evansville and to the north, the residents of Foster Avenue to the west of MacGregor Avenue.

In 1978, the George Wimpey Canada Limited Company entered into negotiations to mine the Stellarton site.  They were prepared to take the residents of Evansville, purchase their properties and relocate the entire Evansville community to the nearby area of Fox Brook Road.  This company recognized the severe disruption that the strip mine in this area would have to local residents.  As a result of this initiative, the area has been locally called the Wimpey pit site ever since.  It is to be noted that back in the late 1970s, when these negotiations were in progress, the Evansville area contained more homes and families than are currently located there at this time.

In 1992, Westray Coal, a division of Curragh Resources, was making application to mine the Wimpey pit area and an environmental review was carried out.  This company, as did the Wimpey company, recognized the disruption that would be caused to the residents of the Foster Avenue area and to the Evansville area and discussions were under way to arrange a compensation package to residents whose properties were in the area.  I will table a copy of the letter prepared by Westray to the then Chairman of the Citizen's Committee, outlining various items of compensation to be offered to the neighbourhood residents.

These compensations were as follows.  The company will reimburse property owners for property taxes for the years in which the open pit is operating.  The company will provide vinyl siding for homes or an allowance of $2,500, this is a once-only item.  The company will provide a window air-conditioner and an electric clothes dryer or an allowance of $1,000, this is a once-only item.  The company will pay for the following services for the three years in which the open pit operates.  They will pay the town water bill for a maximum of $200 per year, and the power bill to a maximum of $500 per year.  The company will compensate residents whose wells dry up and the compensation will consist of tying the residents' homes into the town water supply and a one-time lump sum payment of $2,500.  The company will pay for painting the inside and the outside of homes which have been impacted by the open pit.  The company will pay a fixed amount of compensation annually, by February 15th, in any year in which the open pit is to operate and it will pay it to the residents in the impacted area.  It will pay $500 per year to each resident in the impacted area and an additional $1,000 per year to residents who are deemed to be in the potential area of high impact.  This will be for a maximum of ten years or for the years in which the open pit is operating.

It is clear that the coal company at this time recognized the fact that an open pit mine in this neighbourhood would have a severe impact on the residents.  In addition, the company offered a package of remuneration to the Town of Stellarton based on a per ton mined basis...

[boldface emphasis added]






Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1996 April 26
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/2nd-36th/vol25/h025_4.html


Mr. Steve Ashton (Thompson):
Sunday was a very important day for the working people of this country, Madam Speaker, the national day of mourning.  In Thompson we were very fortunate to have a service to commemorate this... Also this weekend, Madam Speaker, to mark the occasion, we were very fortunate to have in Thompson a play called Westray, The Long Way Home, put on by the group, Two Planks and a Passion, a theatre group from Nova Scotia, which addressed first-hand the reality of what happened in the Westray mine disaster.

Madam Speaker, as we reflect on the day of mourning and the message of the impact that that tragedy had in the province of Nova Scotia, I think it is important to recognize two things, first of all, the fact that we continue to have unsafe working conditions in this province.  We have had six mining deaths in this province over the last number of years... We have to reflect on the reality of continuing unsafe conditions in this province, and also the fact that disasters such as Westray have a very political dimension, in that province a federal Conservative and a provincial Conservative government that ignored the very clear warnings of the unsafe conditions, and I believe very much led to the 26 deaths that took place...

[boldface emphasis added]






Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1996 April 29
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/2nd-36th/vol25/h025_2.html


Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition):
Madam Speaker, I would encourage the Minister of Justice (Hon. Rosemary Vodrey, Minister of Justice and Attorney General) and the Premier (Mr. Filmon) to review the precedent established with the Westray public inquiry, where charges are pending and being investigated but a public inquiry is being conducted...

[boldface emphasis added]






The Senate, Ottawa
Hansard, 1996 May 6
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/english/senate/com-e/devc-e/01ev-e.htm


The Special Committee of the Senate on the
Cape Breton Development Corporation


Mr. Joseph P. Shannon, Chairman of the Board,
Cape Breton Development Corporation:

Mr. Chairman, I would like to make it clear to you, sir, and to other members of your committee that I am not an engineer; I am not a coal miner.  I fancy myself as a truck driver from Port Hawkesbury who happens to have gotten into a situation where I became chairman of the board and acting president of the Cape Breton Development Corporation about ten or eleven months ago...

...I went to the Nova Scotia Power Corporation's board of directors' meeting and, before I left their meeting, they had asked the president to meet with me to start some serious negotiations with respect to concluding the outstanding issues and to bring the contract to a successful conclusion.  It took us some time to do that.  At the outset, they were looking for about a 35-per-cent discount, and then they were asking for 25 per cent.  We settled on an 18-per-cent reduction in the price over a three-year period.  In the last two years of the five-year agreement, inflation has built up to a maximum of 4 per cent.  If the inflation rate stays under 4 per cent, we will be acceptable, and we hope Canada will be able to do that or we will all be in trouble.  The contract was signed and set aside.

One of the problems we ran into is that, during the negotiations to build the Westray mine, the Government of Canada opened our 33-year contract with the Nova Scotia Power Corporation and gave the Westray company a contract to supply 700,000 tonnes of coal to Nova Scotia Power at the Trenton power plant.  Unfortunately, there was no provision in that agreement that, in the event the Westray project did not go forward as anticipated, the contract would revert to the Cape Breton Development Corporation.  There was no such clause in that agreement.  Nova Scotia Power Corporation continues to use that as a lever against us in the negotiations and, for the last number of years, the price at which we have had to supply coal to Trenton is substantially less than we are selling coal to them at all other generating plants...

[boldface emphasis added]







Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1996 May 9,   page 1551
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-4/h96may09.htm#[Page%201551]


Resolution No. 505


Premier John Savage
Be it resolved that in memory of the 26 men so tragically lost, the members of this House stand and observe a moment of silence.





Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1996 May 9,   page 1552
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-4/h96may09.htm#[Page%201552]


Resolution No. 506


Dr. John Hamm
Be it resolved that the members of the House join with the families and friends of the victims in remembering them.





Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1996 May 9,   page 1553
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-4/h96may09.htm#[Page%201553]


Resolution No. 507


Mr. John Holm
Be it resolved that on this tragic anniversary the members of this House honour the memory of Westray miners by committing to the strongest possible legislation and enforcement of workplace safety.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1996 May 9,   page 1553
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-4/h96may09.htm#[Page%201553]


Resolution No. 508


Mr. Wayne Fraser
Be it resolved that the members of this Assembly keep foremost in their minds and hearts the tremendous grief and pain suffered by the families and friends of these courageous men.




House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1996 May 9,   page 2557
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/english/hansard//043_96-05-09/043SM1E.html#2557


Ms. Roseanne Skoke (Central Nova, Liberal)
Mr. Speaker, in recognition of the grieving families and in commemoration of the 26 deceased miners who were killed in my riding of Central Nova in the Westray coal mine disaster on May 9, 1992, we will remember them:

John Thomas Bates, Larry Arthur Bell, Bennie Joseph Benoit, Wayne Michael Conway, Ferris Todd Dewan, Adonis J. Dollimont, Robert Steven Doyle, Remi Joseph Drolet, Roy Edward Feltmate, Charles Robert Fraser, Myles Gillis, John Philip Halloran, Randolph Brian House, Trevor Jahn, Laurence Elwyn James, Eugene W. Johnson, Stephen Paul Lilley, Michael Frederick MacKay, Angus Joseph MacNeil, Glenn David Martin, Harry A. McCallum, Eric Earl McIssac, George James Munroe, Danny James Poplar, Romeo Andrew Short and Peter Francis Vickers.

We will remember them.

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1996 May 9,   page 2557
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/english/hansard//043_96-05-09/043SM1E.html#2557


Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary North, Reform)
Mr. Speaker, four years ago today 26 miners died at the Westray mine in Nova Scotia when coal dust ignited with methane gas to produce an underground explosion.

With all the headline coverage about the ongoing inquiry and with all the difficulties in getting at the truth, there are often times when the actual tragedy and loss of life seem to have been forgotten. If anything positive is to come out of this terrible event, it should be an acknowledgement that we can never overlook the importance of safety in the workplace.

To this end it is an absolute necessity that government regulations responsible for ensuring safety must never be relaxed and the safety inspectors that are looked to for protection must be completely free from political interference if they are to be effective. If we can achieve this we can take solace in the hope that this tragedy will never be repeated.

Today Canadians remember and honour the 26 miners who lost their lives four years ago this morning. We extend our sympathy and support to their families and friends.

[boldface emphasis added]






Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1996 May 16
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/2nd-36th/vol35b/h035b_4.html


Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):
...Take, for example, the Westray situation, just last week, where the inspector said very clearly that he would give two days notice to the company before he went in to do his inspections.  How is that random inspection?  How is that helping to make sure that we have a worksite that is going to continue to have safe working conditions for all its people every day, not just the days that the inspector is coming to inspect?  We have to take the steps necessary to protect people in the worksite, both the employees themselves and the management people, for all people who work in those worksites...

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1996 May 17,   page 1837
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-4/h96may17.htm#[Page%201837]


Resolution No. 635


Mr. Robert Chisholm, Leader of the New Democratic Party:
    Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:
    Whereas the Westray Families Group has expressed growing frustration with the performance and testimony of some provincial officials before the Westray Inquiry; and
    Whereas the families group has expressed concern that by their attitudes and performance, these officials may be putting other workers in the same danger as that faced by Westray workers before May 9, 1992; and
    Whereas the families group has raised legitimate concerns about workplace safety in this province;
    Therefore be it resolved that the Ministers of Labour and Natural Resources stop hiding behind legal niceties and meet with the Westray families forthwith.

Mr. Speaker:
The notice is tabled.

[boldface emphasis added]






Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1996 May 23
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/2nd-36th/vol38b/h038b_4.html


Mr. Gord Mackintosh (St. Johns):
...And then the minister said... I do not know where he gets his legal advice, but you cannot have a commission of inquiry and criminal proceedings going on at the same time.  Here we are looking at criminal proceedings and the commission of inquiry into the Westray mining disaster going on in Nova Scotia.  In the national news we are reading about it all the time.  It is interesting there is a Supreme Court of Canada decision that says, yes, indeed, you can have both at the same time.  There are checks and balances.  The Charter of Rights and Freedoms have to be respected, but you leave that to the commissioner.  The commissioner can ensure those protections are guaranteed...

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1996 May 23
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/comm/ed/ed960523.htm


Standing Committee on Economic Development


Mr. Stephen Drake, President of District 26 of the United Mine Workers of America
...On private coal; private coal created Westray, that's one thing.  Private coal has a long history of high fatality rates, high accident rates, absentee ownership and everything else that you could put along with private coal.  We have had the private coal here in Nova Scotia and it didn't work very well.  I think that one of the key things that anybody can learn from is their history, and the history in the coal mining industry has been very tumultuous with private coal...

Mrs. Lila O'Connor
All right but if the taxpayer at this time doesn't have the funding to go forward with the Donkin Mine — in Smoky River Coal, what's the history on that?  Has there been a history of accidents out there?  We all understand Westray and we certainly don't want to ever see that happen again, but that could have happened even if it had been owned by the federal government.  I don't want to see that happen again and I don't want to expand on that.  But I would like to see why you are not promoting – private industry can be run just as successfully and safely as any other industry as it does in other businesses besides coal.  If it does its job, it will happen.  I am surprised that if the coal is out there and it will get people working, why is your union not supporting trying to find that to happen if the federal government is not able to do it at this time?

Mr. Drake
Pardon me, the Westray situation, private coal operators don't operate coal mines like the federal government.  The federal government has strict and stringent regulations that we follow.  That is why we have the safest coal mines in the world in Cape Breton, under federal ownership.  That's the first thing.

The second thing is that safety costs a whole lot of money.  Safety adds to your cost per ton dramatically and private coal operators, historically, have not paid that type of attention to safety issues and Westray is a prime example but in China, in private coal mining industries, 10,000 coal miners die every single year.  In the United States, there were 41 fatalities last year in privately owned corporations.  Now those industries, where the 41 fatalities were, were mines that the UMWA has jurisdiction over and the UMWA has very well trained safety people and if they cannot keep the fatality rate at zero in these private mines, I don't think we are going to do it in Cape Breton either.

One of the reasons that during the last four years our fatality rate has been zero is because we are federally mandated.  We are not under provincial jurisdiction, we are not run by a private operator and I say, once again, and I will stress it, if this industry can work, and I believe it can, under Crown ownership without a cost to the taxpayer, and I certainly believe it can and some of these numbers will justify that, I suggest that we should keep it as a Crown Corporation and maintain the level of safety that we have.  We don't need another Westray and we don't need private owners who live somewhere else and take their money out of this province...

Mr. Alfred MacLeod
...Nova Scotia Power actually buys BTUs, they don't buy tons of coal...

[boldface emphasis added]






The Senate, Ottawa
Hansard, 1996 May 28
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/35/2/parlbus/commbus/senate/com-e/devc-e/02evb-e.htm?language=e&parl=35&ses=2&comm_id=36


The Special Committee of the Senate on the
Cape Breton Development Corporation


Annual Report and Corporate Plan of the
Cape Breton Development Corporation


Mr. Steven Drake, President, District 26, United Mine Workers of America:
...Approximately 5,500 tonnes of coal were mined in the Donkin mine in a side tunnel off the main tunnels.  That coal was sent to four labs.  We had quite a lot of difficulty in getting those reports.  However, the sampling indicated that by selective mining – Mr. Shannon was talking about selective mining back in 1985 – and leaving part of the coal seam as floor and roof and mining 70 per cent of the 3.4 metre seam, the sulphur level could be reduced to about 1 per cent.  I will not argue with all these numbers, because too many people are saying that Donkin mine is good coal.  I do not know where it came from that Donkin mine did not have good coal.  I will not get into that.  Donkin mine, in my opinion, will be a highly profitable industry.  I will leave this report with you; I do not have copies of it.

We have a detailed analysis, which we gave to the Cape Breton Development Corporation and to John Manley one and a half years ago.  This is a detailed information proposal.  It is just a proposal because we had a lot of difficulty.  The United Mine Workers put this together over a period of intensive research for one-and-a-half years, beginning in September 1994.  The first page of the summary, which I will leave here, shows that, if you start out on a small-scale operation at Donkin mine, revenues from coal over the transition period from start-up to full-scale operation in 3.5 years would be about $28 million.  That is a conservative estimate.  The total cost, excluding the revenues, would be $63 million to open Donkin mine.  This is a very small-scale project, not a mega project or a Cadillac project.  This is not 1975; this is 1996, and we know it.  Mining operations like this are opening all over the world.  I hate to mention Westray in the same breath, but Westray was opened for approximately $100   million dollars and it did not have two $88 million tunnels; we do.  It is common sense.

The Cape Breton Development Corporation abandoned a full surface operation at Lingan colliery.  We can utilize that equipment.  It was fully functional when the mine shut down.  We have many pieces of mining equipment standing on Devco sites right now that can be rebuilt inexpensively and utilized.  They are doing it in western Canada; we can do it in Cape Breton.  We have the best miners in the world there.  If you take the revenues away, the report is basically in agreement with what Mr. Farrell said this morning.  For somewhere in the vicinity of $100 million, Donkin mine can be opened for a small-scale project of approximately 1 million tonnes per year.  It is all broken down.  It is very detailed, but it is only a proposal because we had great difficulty getting information from the corporation...

[boldface emphasis added]






Newfoundland Legislature, St. John's
Hansard, 1996 May 31
     http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/hansard/ga43session1/96-05-31.htm


Mr. Harris, MLA for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi:
...With other elements of society, representatives appointed by government, representatives of other players in the industry, the stakeholders is the favourite term these days, who will have an influence on who is involved with, or what the rules are going to be for this fish harvesters certification board.  I think it is very important that the objectives of the board are spelled out here as providing an advisory role to both the federal and provincial governments in the formation of fisheries policies consistent with the common good of fish harvesters, and it spells out the areas of resource conservation, fish quality improvement, a reasonable return to participants, optimizing product value, and a very important one, the safety of fish harvesters and the public.  Fishing continues to be, by far, the most dangerous industrial activity in all of North America, more dangerous than mining, despite the drama of a mine disaster such as Westray... Fishing is far more dangerous than mining, far more dangerous than industrial, high level construction, heavy construction.  There are far more lives lost in fishing than in any other industry in Canada.  So it is very important that this board address itself to the issues of safety of fish harvesters, but it is also interesting and unique, the establishment and the development of a compliance code for a code of ethics for fish harvesters.  That is something that is brand new, Mr. Speaker, well recognized that not every person who is engaged in fishing follows proper environmental and ecological practices in the activities that are involved in harvesting fish...

[boldface emphasis added]






The Senate, Ottawa
Hansard, 1996 June 4
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/english/senate/com-e/soci-e/05ev-e.htm

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology

Ms. Alexa McDonough, Leader, New Democratic Party of Canada:
Honourable senators... Cuts make others so desperate for work that they will take any job, no matter how low the pay or how poor and dangerous the working conditions.  I know there is no one in this room who is not aware that one of the factors in the Westray tragedy, which cost 26 miners their lives in Pictou County four years ago, was the fact that when some of those miners went to the unemployment insurance office to inquire about their eligibility for UI benefits, so they could feed their families, they were told that because of recent changes — and these are changes already put in place to make UI even more restrictive than it had been previously, but not nearly as restrictive as what we will have after these changes go into effect — they would be considered quitters.  They would therefore not be eligible for any benefits for at least eight, and probably twelve, weeks.  So they went back into the mine; did exactly what most working people would do under those conditions in order to feed their families and to keep an income...

...We are talking about the reality of the testimony of Westray miners, who reported exactly what happened when they tried to seek relief and protect themselves from those unsafe conditions by going to the UI office.  It does not take away the problem to say that the UI official was misinformed, or to ask why that worker did not know that they should have been able to quit their job and press through the courts to have their claim respected.  I am talking about what happened in the lives of those miners and what people mean when they say that we are creating a Westray world by these kinds of changes...

[boldface emphasis added]






Newfoundland Legislature, St. John's
Hansard, 1996 June 14
     http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/hansard/ga43session1/96-06-14.htm


Mr. E. Byrne, MLA for Kilbride:
...The only other section that I would like to deal with is the whole question of liability.  Liability is very important.  As we have seen in the Westray mine disaster in Nova Scotia, for example, the inspectors in that government, and that government department – certainly, while the judgement has not been rendered on that issue, it is clear that inspectors of government really did not necessarily do their job.  The whole question of liability, who is responsible, enters into question.  While this is a housekeeping piece of legislation it is often times that the smallest details in government end up being some of the most important ones.  When you are dealing with occupational health and safety, you are dealing with elevating devices, you are dealing with amusement rides which many children and adults use throughout the Province, and if the inspector is not liable, then who is?  The minister, I think, has an obligation to answer that.  It says here in section 35 that: "An inspector or other officer is not personally liable for anything done or omitted to be done in the performance of his or her duties under this Act or the regulations." I think that what I would like – again, we will have a chance to debate that in the clause-by-clause stage of this piece of legislation.  But I would like the minister to enlighten the House and members, and through the House the general public, on the whole notion of liability.  Somebody has to be responsible for decisions made or not made.  We have seen too many times in government where that has fallen down and the burden of proof lies on the victim rather than upon those who have been entrusted to make the correct decisions and who should be liable for the decisions.  If officers or inspectors are employed by the Crown or by this Legislature or departments, then they should be liable.  If there is any omission in the duties as set forth by this act, then liability must lie with those officers for that omission...

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1996 August 29
     http://www.ontla.on.ca/committee-proceedings/transcripts/files_html/1996-08-29_g038.htm#PARA664


Standing Committee on General Government

Social Housing Contact Group of Peterborough


Mr. John Martyn, chair of Kairos Non-Profit Housing of Peterborough, today speaking on behalf of the Social Housing Contact Group of Peterborough:
...As the tragedy of the Westray mine disaster makes so clear, one of the great dangers of coal mining is the existence of poisonous underground gases.  In the early days of the industrial revolution, to check for danger before entering the mines, coal miners in England used to release canaries into the shafts.  If the canaries died from asphyxiation, the miners knew that the environment was unsafe.

Many in Ontario seem to regard poor people as expendable as those canaries.  The emerging attitude seems to be that we can experiment with new social policies by depriving the marginalized, the abused, the unemployed, the poor and the physically and mentally ill of the sustenance needed to survive.  If the canaries do not survive, we will know it is dangerous for the rest of us.  But the canaries must die first.  Their deaths are the early warnings that such actions threaten the health of a community.

Consider these few Peterborough examples.  Some of these have been mentioned already today, so I'll just call your attention to one or two.

The volunteers of a small non-profit housing project sign a binding, legal performance agreement with one government, spend 18 months developing their concept as volunteers and are ordered by telephone by another government to close down the project and pay all bills within 48 hours and reduce the availability of assisted housing by 20 units.

A group of seniors I have spoken with recently approached the rent review board to complain about their landlord's failure to maintain their building; they are ignored by both the board and the landlord.  There are other examples, but I'll move on...

[boldface emphasis added]






Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1996 October 23
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/2nd-36th/la_10/la_10.html


The Standing Committee on Law Amendments


Professor Elliot Levine, (witness)
...The example that we have in Canada, closer to home, is decades of HIV in our blood supply, of asbestosis and silicosis in the lungs of our miners, the quality of inspections at the Westray mine.  These are all happenstances close to hand where various servants performed as servants.  I just came from an honours seminar where we considered Hegel's 19th Century text of the role of masters and bondsmen and the impossibility of a servant to deny saying yes to his master's commands.  Servants possessing in this sense, an academic sense, they have no real freedom and they have no mandate to pronounce findings contrary to their perception of what they believed their political masters wished to hear.  I think that possibility of a voice of honest dissent is something that we should cherish.  We fought hard to gain it, to preserve it.  Europe did not have that tradition and I think we have in North America paid blood for that weakness, that sickness in their system...

[boldface emphasis added]






Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1996 October 26
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/hansard/hansard/2nd-36th/la_12/la_12.html


The Standing Committee on Law Amendments


Mr. Kenneth Emberley, (witness)
...All that I ask is to be heard, and for you to examine the papers and two major documents which I have not included.  In 26 years of self-directed sustainable development community studies, I learned more than I could have learned in six years at the greatest universities in the country.  I learned to care and think about people and to think about people and nature.  This is not stressed anywhere in our education system, and I believe it is completely omitted from the concept behind the bills, the lack of a stress on community.  In fact, one of the bills could almost be titled as a bill to segregate children in the schools.  That will be the effect in choosing individual schools for quality.  Yet one of the most important things that we get in our society is that people in mixed classes, like the people in River Heights, where from one end to another of River Heights there is a very large difference in wealth and prosperity among the people.  Some of the people – I grew up there, and the mix of people you meet enriches your lives, both the poor and the wealthier.  This effort to test and classify the schools and pick the schools and the children that are going to be successful and the schools that are going to make money and the schools are going to have a better rating – instead of making an effort to improve the schools and to maintain a diversified group, they will gradually be segregated on class, on cultural background, educational background, on whether they are white, middle-class people.  All those affect standardized test results.

The possibility of making parents legally responsible for their children, it is a vital issue.  I wonder if any of you have heard of the Westray Mine inquiry, the Health Sciences Centre inquiry, the Somalia inquiry, the blood inquiry, public inquiries in Canada about senior political and administrative personnel not doing their jobs, of the total absence of any clear job descriptions, of the total absence of any procedures to correct, amend, appeal or punish unwise decisions, the absence of these institutions, in all of these institutions, in fact they are undemocratic, and that is what some people are saying about some of the features of this bill.  And I say, when we do not broadcast this for 1,000 or 10,000 or 20,000 people to be able to hear this debate on public television, we are operating an undemocratic procedure.  I ask you to consider that.

We have major – whole segments of our whole society are totally irresponsible, and not one sign in 20 years of any effort to make these groups provide job descriptions, an appeal process.  Imagine if the AIDS patients had been able to appeal, just as if they were human beings with rights, to the administration of the Red Cross and the corrupt political group that managed the Red Cross inadequately.  I beg of you, if you are going to make the children responsible and their parents responsible, you make sure that there are methods and terms within the people that arrange this legislation and get it passed, that they are held responsible...

[boldface emphasis added]






Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1996 October 29
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/hansard/hansard/2nd-36th/ir_02/ir_02.html


The Standing Committee on Industrial Relations


Mr. Desjarlais, United Steelworkers of America, Local 6166, (witness)
...I just want to quickly go into what took place here in the last couple of weeks.  We were in a very difficult situation.  We were in a lockout situation with Inco Limited.  Two weeks into that dispute, I went to my members with – we brought the company back to the bargaining table.  We made some changes, certainly not what we wanted.  We made some inroads into the 10- and 12-hour shift configuration, which was the nub of the labour dispute, but there was not enough there for us to recommend to our members, to 1,328 steelworkers to accept the agreement, but at the same time I had the most difficult time I have ever had as a president of a local union.  I talked to my members and I explained to them what this government was up to and what the possibilities were down the road if we in fact took this company on, what it really meant.  What it really meant was the ability of this government to circumvent, by-pass the union, and go directly to my members anytime during this labour dispute and force them to vote on another offer, the last offer or any offer that the company wanted to make.  That could also mean less than what we went out for.  Clearly I had an obligation as a president to explain to them what that really meant.  So if, in fact, that legislation is contemplated to bully workers, congratulations, Tories, you did a real good job, because you bullied my members into signing a substandard agreement.  I now have a 10- and 12-hour shift configuration in the underground environment, and I cannot protect my members in safety and health, and that concerns me a great deal.  Anyway, the Conservative agenda is the Conservative agenda whether it is in Manitoba or in Nova Scotia.  Nova Scotia is the prime example of the consequences of absolute power corrupting absolutely.  The Westray mine disaster where 26 miners paid with their lives, workers were forced to choose between unsafe work conditions or abject poverty, which is no choice at all as far as I am concerned.  Is that what we want here in Manitoba?  Because that is the type of environment that you are fostering in Manitoba and we as steelworkers are absolutely in opposition to that.  Just a few quick comments.  I would like to correct a few misconceptions fostered by Minister Toews...

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1996 October 30,   page 5888
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/english/hansard/093_96-10-30/093SM1E.html#5888


Mr. Harbance Singh Dhaliwal (Vancouver South, Liberal)
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the solicitor general.  By the way, it is great to see the solicitor general back in the House.  The Gander, Newfoundland air crash, the Hinton train wreck, the Dryden aeroplane disaster and the Westray mine explosion have one thing in common: inquiries were conducted into all four tragedies...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1996 December 9
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/29-legislature/session1/003_Dec_9_1996.html


Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne

Hon. Mr. Harding:
It is indeed a great pleasure to be speaking today in reply to the Speech from the Throne.  A lot has happened since September 30 and the election campaign.  It is the first major opportunity I have had to stand and speak a bit about it.

On October 30, the people of the Yukon elected our party to form the government and lead the territory to the next millennium.  I want to thank the people of Faro for putting their confidence in me as their representative for the next four years.  It is indeed a great honour.  I will never forget the night of my re-election.  I always used to worry about being a one-term wonder.  I figured anyone could do anything for one term, but to get elected twice means something.  I felt very honoured by the people and what was bestowed upon me.  As I went door to door and spoke to them about the issues, it was a very gratifying experience.  We do not do a lot of polling in the Yukon, so one does not always know how one is doing until one sees a sign on someone's lawn or hears people saying, "You do not have to spend any time here, Trevor, you have our support." I just want to say from the heart that I thank the people for that.  I also want to say that I thank my opponent in Faro and the people who supported him, as well.  I never got into one harsh argument with anyone during the campaign; I thought that was great.

I believe that the decisions that face our government will shape the direction of this territory for years to come in a critical way that has not been seen before.  I know that is kind of a cliché that politicians love to say, but, in this case I really believe it is true.

We are now dealing with the final settlements – the deadlines – of land claims.  We are dealing with time lines that are very pressing.  We are dealing with issues of devolution of federal powers to this territory in important resource areas, such as mining and forestry.  I believe that if we can come through this time together as one Yukon people, with a greater understanding of each other's values and cultures, we will have a tremendous opportunity to build the future of this territory, both socially and economically.

We can use the economy as a vehicle to achieve a greater social and economic framework for this territory, and I want to put a lot of effort, as do my colleagues, into seeing that happen.  It will take a lot of work.  We will have to measure our progress in small, little baby steps, but that is something we are prepared to do.  We want to remain focused on a vision.  We do not want to be a herky-jerky government that sort of reacts to all of the brush fires that come up.  We want to pay heed to the concerns of Yukoners as they arise, but we cannot lose sight of that big picture.  That is what the Government Leader is up to now as he puts together a team to deal with the tremendous challenges of settling land claims.  We have tremendous challenges but we also have tremendous opportunities.  The proof in the pudding will be in the eating and when all is said and done, we will see a settlement of claims, and we will see a new society fostered on a basis of greater mutual trust and understanding.  This is an awesome responsibility and we take it very, very seriously and very, very humbly...

We are committed to a government that is open and accountable, and responsible for the decisions it makes.  We are committed to balancing economic development and environmental concerns, and we believe there should not be so much differentiation between the two.  For the long-term sustainability, it is important that both concerns are identified first and foremost.  We believe there are acceptable compromises.  We believe there are ways through which we can see a future for the Yukon that has a lot of emphasis on economic diversity, uses our resource sector as a building block to see that happen, and we believe we can do it while protecting our environment.  This government sees not only intrinsic values in parks, wilderness protection and the environment, but we think there is also tremendous potential in this territory for long-term, sustainable benefit from good environmental policy.  It does not always have to collide with the economy, as some people like to phrase the equation.  Above all, we have to remain a compassionate government that understands the difficulties faced by working men and women in their daily lives in the territory.

This brings me to the subject of my riding, which is the note I opened on.  The effect on working families was sudden and it was very shocking for many people on November 20, when the news hit that there would be approximately 300 workers laid off at the mine, a temporary mine shutdown.  There were always rumours that things were not going that well, but I heard that for seven years when I was working for Curragh.  It eventually hit, and we lost Curragh.  However, in this case, I do not think that anybody could really claim that it was not somewhat of a surprise.  Two days before the election, I was at the board of directors barbecue at the guest house in Faro, and it was a very exciting, exuberant feeling.  There was a $7 million profit announced for that quarter at low metal prices.  It was full speed ahead with big things to come in the future.  There was a good exploration program underway.  They were spending millions.  At that barbecue, I was having discussions with some of the directors of the board.  I was talking about some of the rumours about how things were not going well.  Some of the directors seemed really surprised that these rumours were out there.  They immediately called over to the general manager and said, "We should be talking to the people about how optimistic we are about the future, and it looks good."  I think they were very sincere.  I say again, it was a bit of a shock.  On November 20, when the announcement came down, two constituents came into my office, and they said, "Trevor, what is happening?  What is all this news?"  I explained it to them, and they said, "Well, it is a good thing that we found out today, because we were just on our way over to Whitehorse Motors to purchase a new $40,000 pick-up truck."  In that sense, there were a couple of lucky people; however, there are a lot of people who were not so lucky.  There are a lot of people who invested in the Yukon, purchased goods and services, restarted lives, had children, and looked at Faro as a community to live in for a long time.  I think that those people are now feeling a great amount of anxiety as we look toward the future and hope that the temporary, partial shutdown, as it was announced, plays out to be just that – a temporary, partial shutdown.

It has been tough.  A lot of people have talked to me.  Just this weekend I was home in Faro, where I played a couple of games of hockey, talked to people in the dressing room and in the local watering hole and on the street.  I attended a community meeting with some of the groups in town, and people were asking me a lot of questions about what the future holds.  Quite frankly, I wish I could have given them some better answers at this point.  It is still too early to tell.  The company is still in the process of restructuring.  A board of directors meeting is to take place in Toronto tomorrow, as I understand it.  I am sure that financing options and a new mine production plan will be discussed.  In addition, there will probably be some discussion about the effect of the mine closure on the people of Faro.  I think, too, an assessment will be done on the company's credibility in the financial markets – all of those questions.  I intend to be as diligent as ever in trying to get that information.  I will be letting the people in the communities of Faro, Ross River and in the rest of the Yukon know what I know about the situation.  There is, however, room for optimism, as I stated before in this House.

This company has virtually no debt, as opposed to Curragh Resources, which had some $300 million of debt, which was staggering.  Anvil Range has an exposed ore body, for the most part.  There is some stripping to be done, but it is not the same situation they had when they took over in November 1994.  It has invested over $100 million in capitalization and upgrading, so that there is a significant desire on their part, as a result of this investment, to make this project go – their one mine project.  They also do not have the albatross of Westray coal mine around their neck, as Curragh did.  That, with all of its – perhaps deserved – connotations, made it incredibly difficult for that company to survive.  For the people of my community, this is a very tough time.  Some of them have been through it before and know the drill.  They are not as nervous as they were before.  They are going to take more of a wait-and-see approach.  For others, it is very, very tough.

I believe that this community will survive.  Many said it would not when the mine shut down in 1992.  They thought the place was going to clean out.  The government actively supported that notion.  We never went below 100 kids in the school.  I think the lowest number we had was 110, when stripping re-started in November 1994.  People have asked me if they should stay or leave.  I have said that I do not want to tell anyone to leave Faro because I like the community.  It is my home.  However, I have also said that they have to make some personal choices about that.  I know how tough it is on them, anxiety-wise, as they have bills to pay and do not know what their prospects are outside.  They have to consider that.  Some have jobs elsewhere and are taking them; however, some people will never leave Faro, no matter what.  I respect those who stay and I respect those who leave...

[boldface emphasis added]






 

1997






Saskatchewan Legislature, Regina
Hansard, 1997 March 18   page 274
     http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/hansard/23L2S/970318h.htm


Mr. Van Mulligen:
Mr. Speaker: ...All I can say is, don't do this, don't do this.  Don't do this to the working people of Saskatchewan – don't do this.  Don't bring us down, okay?  Do what you can, do what you can to ensure a safe working environment for Saskatchewan people.  Please do that.  Don't attack in this way.

I was interested that even as I was, you know, as we were listening to this non-ending attack on occupational health and safety, this non-ending attack on the government – and I might say, a non-ending attack on working people in Saskatchewan by saying that you deserve something less than the very best – that I received from United Steelworkers of America, a document called Death by Deregulation: The Story of Westray, Mr. Speaker, and this is a very sad chapter in Canadian history.

But the report that they provided me is based on their submission to the Westray inquiry, and they conclude by saying:

The Westray disaster happened because regulations governing mining practices and safety were not followed, and because the government, while fully aware of the situation, did not step in to enforce the law.  Such behaviour is not unique to coal mines or to Nova Scotia.  It is a result of the deregulation of health and safety, a policy goal now pursued by governments and employers across Canada.


And I might say parenthetically, thankfully not by this government, Mr. Speaker.

Some Hon. Members:
Hear, hear!

Mr. Van Mulligen:
And I go on here, Mr. Speaker, to read this quote:

Every day in this country people die from work-related accidents and illnesses.  Many more are injured or incapacitated by their work.  Like all these victims, the twenty-six miners who died at Westray were ordinary people.  They went to work to make a living and to provide for their families.  Nobody went to work to die.


The point is simple.  Work can be made safe and healthy.  With our advanced science and technology, and with all our resources to create wealth, there is no reason or excuse for a Westray explosion.

And I might say, with all the wealth and all the resources that we have in this country, there is simply no reason to risk the lives of workers...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1997 April 28
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/29-legislature/session1/028_apr_28_1997.html

Moment of silence observed

Mr. Cable:
Mr. Speaker, I rise also in memory of all Yukon workers who have died on the job.  While some workplace deaths, such as occurred at Springhill coal mine a few decades ago or at Westray coal mine a few years ago, have caught the public attention, we have to also think of and respect the memory of those countless workers who have died without public attention, and we have to appreciate that there are many who have been injured or disabled and left to suffer in silence.  I have met many of the latter during my four years as an elected member, and the suffering and family disruptions that workplace accidents cause have been brought home.  Those of us comfortably working in offices must continue to be aware of the safety and health concerns of those working in more hazardous environments.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1997 May 9,   page 1594
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-5/h97may09.htm#[Page%201594]


Resolution Number 421
Premier John Savage
Be it resolved that on this, the Fifth Anniversary of the Westray Mine disaster, that this House pledge to Nova Scotians and particularly to the Westray families that we will work together in a unified manner to ensure the continued development and enforcement of laws and regulations to ensure the safety of all miners in this province.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1997 May 9,   page 1595
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-5/h97may09.htm#[Page%201595]


Resolution Number 422
Mr. Wayne Fraser, Pictou East
Be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly pay tribute to the rescuers for their compassion, unwavering professionalism and steadfast courage and extend sincere condolences to the family and friends of the miners left behind to suffer the grief and pain of this tragic loss.




Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1997 May 9,   page 1596
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-5/h97may09.htm#[Page%201596]


Resolution Number 423
Dr. John Hamm, the honourable Leader of the Opposition
Be it resolved that the members of this House join with the families and friends in remembering the 26 lost Westray miners.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1997 May 9,   page 1596
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-5/h97may09.htm#[Page%201596]


Resolution Number 424
Mr. Robert Chisholm, the honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party
Be it resolved that this House commends the Families Group and others who keep alive the memories of the Westray miners, and on this fifth Anniversary commits to the strongest possible legislation and the most vigilant enforcement of workplace safety legislation.

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1997 May 27
     http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/house-proceedings/house_detail.do?Date=1997-05-27#PARA163


Members' Statements: Ipperwash Provincial Park


Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier):
I think we've been quite clear on this.  Certainly from the legal advice, we are obligated, we feel, to wait until the legal issues and cases are resolved.  I've indicated that to the Legislature.  If you have information you think should be made public, go ahead.

Mr. Gerry Phillips, (Scarborough-Agincourt):
We already have made it and we're anxious for a forum in which to present it and have some adjudication of it.  I'll be very blunt, Premier.  You are going to do whatever you can to avoid a public inquiry.  We've examined the terms of reference of other inquiries.  For example, in the Westray mine inquiry the criminal trial proceedings occurred alongside the public inquiry.  The terms of reference said, for example, "No evidence can be heard by the Westray public inquiry until all evidence at the related criminal trial is heard."  It provided the forum and the vehicle for that.  Premier, will you today table the legal opinion that you've referred to so we can examine that legal opinion, and will you examine the terms of reference of the Westray mine inquiry to determine if we can use the same model here?  Frankly, we are not going to quit on this.  We are going to continue to demand a public inquiry so we can get to the bottom of this very, very sorry affair.

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1997 June 4
     http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/house-proceedings/house_detail.do?
        Date=1997-06-04&Parl=36&Sess=1&locale=en#P437_107732


Opposition Motion: Ipperwash Provincial Park


Mr. Howard Hampton (Rainy River):
This is an opposition motion, and it reads:
    Whereas the events at Ipperwash Provincial Park in September 1995, resulting in the death of Dudley George, remain the subject of widespread concern in Ontario; and
    Whereas the role of police, government officials and others in these events has never been fully explained; and
    Whereas various court proceedings have raised further concerns while leaving many important questions unanswered;
    Be it therefore resolved that this House believes an independent inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act into the events at Ipperwash, including all government discussions and decisions leading up to those events, will be essential for bringing out the full truth surrounding this tragic confrontation...

Mr. Howard Hampton (Rainy River):
...Some other questions: In dealing with this situation, one would think the rational approach would be that where you believe you have a disagreement with 40 individuals, where those 40 individuals – and this did not come out of the blue, this did not happen overnight.  There's a long-standing issue here.  I know it.  I knew it when I was in government.  I attended in that part of the province to try to lower the temperature.  My colleague from Algoma, as the former Minister of Natural Resources and minister responsible for native affairs, knows about the long-standing history.  Given that there was a historical grievance, why would the government not attempt to sit down and talk with the occupiers?  Why no attempt at discussion?  Not only that, but instead of attempting to discuss the government marched off to court.  The government tried to escalate things right away into the hard fist of an injunction.  Not only was it an injunction process, the government had two choices as to an injunctive process.  They could have proceeded by way of notice.  They could have given the occupiers or representatives of the occupiers notice that they were going to apply for an injunction.  That would have given the occupiers an opportunity to attend at that court proceeding and to make their case.  There would have been an opportunity for discussion there.  Who knows what could have come out of the discussion at that kind of injunction process, an injunction application with notice.  There might have been a settlement.  But no, the government didn't even choose to do that.  They proceeded without notice.  They proceeded as if to avoid any discussion.  They proceeded as if to avoid any chance of settlement, any chance of discussion and coming together of the minds.  They proceeded on a without notice basis, the hardest, the nastiest way of bringing the law into a dispute.  Finally, we believe they directed the police to move into the park.  But the government refuses to call an inquiry so that all of these questions can be asked and all of these questions can be answered.  In our view, if you look at the totality of unanswered questions, if you look at the totality of contradictions, if you look at the totality of what happened here, this cries out for a public inquiry to get to the bottom of this situation.  Justice cries out for an inquiry to answer the question: Why did this unarmed person die?  The government refuses to call that inquiry.  The government refuses to ask these questions.  The government refuses to allow a process that will have these questions answered.  Why?  What is the government afraid of?  From time to time in this House we've heard the government say, "There's a criminal process happening." We know from other inquiries – for example, in the Westray mine inquiry in Nova Scotia, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that it is possible to hold a public inquiry around some of these issues as long as that public inquiry does not go to the root of who is criminally responsible.  It is possible to do that.  The government refuses to do it.  The government continues to say, "There is a criminal trial proceeding, and as long as that criminal trial is proceeding, none of these questions can be answered."  In my view, the Westray mine inquiry stands for the proposition that such a public inquiry can be structured and can be held such that these questions will be answered without necessarily pointing the finger of criminal culpability, criminal liability, at anyone.  But the government refuses to put in place that kind of procedure.  The government refuses to have these questions asked.  The government refuses to let these questions be answered.  This is not going to go away.  Part of what we want to do here today is to raise over and over again the very serious questions that must be answered.  In any semblance of a society that is democratic and believes in the rule of law, these questions must be answered.  We're going to continue to ask the questions.  We're going to continue to raise the issues until this government does the right thing and calls for a public inquiry...

Mr. John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands):
...It's with some interest that I join this debate.  Mr Phillips, the member for Scarborough-Agincourt, who has been very persistent on this subject for the last two years, will have much more to say later on in the debate, as will our critic for the Attorney General's department and the Solicitor General's department, the member for Timiskaming.  Let me first say that I find it very strange that the government has taken the position that it does not want to have any further debate at all on this motion.  I'm saying that because I think the motion itself is very non-confrontational.  I know that in this House we are quite often subject to motions put forward either by the opposition or by government that are confrontational in nature, and I suppose if one wanted to find a reason for not supporting a particular course of action, one could always find that in most motions presented here.  This motion is not that way at all.  This motion is simply saying there are an awful lot of unanswered questions about this particular matter that ought to be dealt with.  It has been almost two years since the occurrence happened back in September 1995, and why not set up an independent inquiry to deal with the many unanswered questions people have?  Right now, there's an awful lot of speculation going on about what really happened there – I suppose our particular version of events is just as valid as somebody else's version of the events that occurred – and one way to deal with that is to have an inquiry.  As to the government's persistence in not wanting to have an inquiry set up, we realize full well that evidence cannot be taken until all the matters before the courts are totally dealt with, but surely the government can agree at this time to have such an inquiry take place.  That will at least show good faith to all the various parties that were involved, be they police, be they native individuals or bands, or be they other citizens in Ontario.  The government's reluctance to do that I think leads the general public, who have very little knowledge of this matter other than what they've read in the newspapers and seen on television and heard on radio etc to the supposition, "What does the government have to hide in this matter?"  I suppose that's the underlying aspect of this whole situation that people find extremely troubling.  When you look at what happened with the Westray inquiry in Nova Scotia, it is quite clear that in that particular case the terms of reference of an inquiry were, in effect, put together, assembled and written before any evidence was called, while the criminal matters that resulted from the Westray incident were still before the courts.  Both processes can go on simultaneously.  For the government to take the position that it doesn't want to have anything to say about this matter at all until all the matters that are presently before the courts are dealt with, you could be looking at a vast amount of time.  There's the criminal aspect.  We know that all the criminal trials have now been dealt with and that sentencing will take place in two or three months.  But there's also the civil case.  Is the government saying as well that until the civil case has actually been determined, which may take one, two, three, four or five years – some of these cases do take an extensively long period of time – no inquiry will take place until the last possible civil trial in this particular matter has been dealt with?  In that case, we may be looking at a four-, five- or six-year delay.  Obviously time in this kind of matter is extremely important.  The longer we're away from the actual incident, the more likely people's minds are to be clouded over what actually happened on that weekend.  It's from that aspect alone that many people can very easily draw the conclusion about who's got what to hide in this case.  What does the government have to hide in this case?...

Mr. Bud Wildman (Algoma):
...This is not a facetious matter.  A man died here.  If this government really wanted the truth to come out, it could.  If the government were really interested in having all the facts become public, they would.  If the government really wanted the public to know who made the decisions, what decisions were made, why they were made and what happened that led to the confrontation and to the death of the first aboriginal person to die in a land claims dispute, not just in Ontario but in Canada, that would become public.  The fact that we do not have all the facts, that we do not have a commitment to a public inquiry, simply indicates that the government does not want us to have the facts, does not want the public to know what happened, does not want to have a full, clear inquiry so we can ensure that we know why this happened, why it occurred and ensure that it never happens again in Ontario.  That raises all sorts of questions.  Why does the government not want the information to be public?  It isn't, as the Attorney General tried to argue, that it might in some way prejudice a court proceeding, because as my leader pointed out quite clearly, the Supreme Court of Canada had ruled that we could have an inquiry into the Westray mine disaster as long as the inquiry was not mandated to point fingers of criminal liability.  We could do that here if the government wanted the information to become public, if the government wanted all the facts to be known.  It has also been argued by the Premier on occasion that yes, there might be a public inquiry into the events at Ipperwash once all the court proceedings are completed – there might be.  But even if you take that view, there is absolutely nothing to prohibit the government now, today, or before now, stating clearly that there will be a public inquiry.  They may maintain their position that it can't take place now, but they don't have to put a time frame on it.  They can say clearly that there will be a public inquiry.  Can't the government do that much?...

Mr. David Ramsay (Timiskaming):
I'm pleased to have the opportunity to speak, on this opposition day, to the whole issue of what happened at Ipperwash two years ago now.  It certainly saddens me to find out this afternoon that the government has decided it won't allow its members to speak on this issue... This is not the first incident the OPP has had to deal with over the years.  They have the experience and the tradition of dealing with these types of confrontations and disputes.  Something very different happened here, and that's why we in the opposition were alerted by what happened that night in September two years ago, when Dudley George was fatally shot at Ipperwash Provincial Park... It's interesting to note when you look at the people involved in this committee that it would be, in a sense, the usual suspects; it would be representatives of the various ministries that would be pertinent to this particular incident, the people at the secretariat dealing with aboriginal issues, natural resources, northern development, Solicitor General and corrections, the police.  These are the normal people.  We also see that in attendance at these meetings of the emergency planning for aboriginal issue committee were officials, one official in particular from Premier Harris's office, and, as I said before, representatives from all the other agencies involved.  What we really want to know is what happened at those meetings.  Were there direct orders given to the OPP on how to handle this situation?  Again, I stress we're asking that in this case because it would appear that the OPP handled this situation in a very different manner than they had previously handled situations such as this.  It's interesting that the situation really developed to the extent it did when we have a copy of a letter here from the Ministry of the Attorney General's office that was sent out in regard to the Ipperwash prosecutions a year after the incident, whereby the Attorney General's office realized that probably it would not succeed in obtaining a prosecution against the natives who had been charged after this incident because of a legal term called "colour of right."  "Colour of right" means that the people involved in this particular incident had the very best belief in their hearts and minds that there was a cemetery site in this park.  Colour of right is recognized as a factor in law regardless of whether the particular belief is true or not in existence.  If it is truly believed to be true, then there is this colour of right that this person has.  It was sad that the Attorney General's office and this crisis committee didn't realize this in the beginning and started to argue that, "We don't think there is a burial ground in this area and, therefore, the aboriginals had no right being in this park." Why this sort of research hadn't gone on while this incident was taking place really puzzles me.  I think that if it had gone on, then probably we could have prevented this tragedy, and that's sad for everybody involved, especially the George family.  What I think happened is that we had a very newly elected government with its first sort of test, and this is the problem.  I think that the newly elected Harris government in the late summer and early fall of 1995 wanted somehow to flex its muscles against this particular intrusion upon, as they would see it, law and order in Ontario.  That's what we have to get to the bottom of because there are many, many outstanding questions as to what happened, mysteries, if you will, that are to this day unresolved.  While the Attorney General speaks to the fact that there's still the potential for judicial appeals to come forward, that there are still some civil litigation cases that are to come before the courts, what we are asking for today and have been asking for for the last year at least in this Legislature is that the government make a commitment that either, like the Westray mine inquiry, we make an inquiry in parallel to these court proceedings whereby evidence would only first appear in these court proceedings before the inquiry, or at least make the commitment that, once all the legal proceedings were completed, this government was committed to a judicial inquiry so that we could have that inquiry that would unravel all these mysteries, that would open up some of the dark corners around this incident, so that all the people in Ontario would know what really happened in the late summer of 1995 and early fall when the incident occurred.  There are many, many reasons why we want to have this.  In fairness to the George family and in fairness, quite frankly, to the officer who has been convicted of the shooting, I think it's important for everybody involved and the people of Ontario that we have this public inquiry... As has been pointed out in this House many times, as people would remember, when the Westray coal mine had its tragedy a few years back in Nova Scotia, the government, through a ruling from a challenge at the Supreme Court, was able to proceed with a provincial inquiry there in Nova Scotia simultaneously with civil and criminal court actions taking place.  The agreement was made that all new evidence would be brought before the judicial system before it came to the provincial inquiry.  As I said, that's certainly one way to handle this.  I think it would be the most expeditious way to handle this so that we don't have to wait until a possible potential appeal in the criminal matter and also the resolution of the civil litigation against the Premier and ministers of this government are completed.  I think the people of Ontario want to know what is happening here.  I think they want to know: Was there any direction given by this newly elected government back in 1995 to the OPP?  Why did the OPP seem to act in a manner different from their traditions in history in dealing with aboriginal disputes in this province?  We pride ourselves in Ontario as a mature democracy, having a highly trained and well-disciplined police force and being able to handle these sorts of matters in a very sensitive way.  That's been our history.  But something changed here, and that's really the outstanding question that remains...

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1997 June 18
     http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/house-proceedings/house_detail.do?Date=1997-06-18#PARA104


Oral Question: Ipperwash Provincial Park


Mr. Howard Hampton (Rainy River):
Amnesty is not reviewing the report.  What they note is that Acting Sergeant Deane has been convicted of a crime in respect of this death but that does not change the need for a public inquiry to get to the bottom of the issues, and that's what your government tries to avoid.  You don't want to answer questions as to how someone died.  What were the events that led up to this?  You're trying to hide behind a criminal investigation but, Mr. Attorney General, the Supreme Court of Canada has already held that in this type of situation, and they refer to the Westray mine situation, a public inquiry can go ahead.  So perhaps you can answer this for people: Why can a public inquiry go ahead in the province of Nova Scotia, yet you cannot hold a public inquiry here in the same sort of factual scenario in the province of Ontario?

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1997 July 3
     http://hansardindex.ontla.on.ca/hansardeissue/36-1/l213.htm#PARA95


Oral Question: Ipperwash Provincial Park


Mr. Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt):
My question is to the Solicitor General, and it's a question about Ipperwash.  The government has said many times that they were waiting for the trial to be over before they appointed a public inquiry into the situation at Ipperwash.  Today the trial is over and the sentencing has been done.  There's no longer a reason for the government to hold off.  The Solicitor General will know that we in the opposition and the public have many substantial, serious unanswered questions that only a public inquiry will answer.  Will you now agree to holding the public inquiry into the situation at Ipperwash?...

Hon. Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services):
We've been around this road on many occasions, and it's been clearly indicated by various members of the government that no one has ruled out the possibility of an inquiry, if and when all the matters are completed.  Certainly there are a number of civil actions that have been filed.  The outcome with respect to the criminal matter has not been finalized; there's still the possibility of an appeal in terms of the conviction.  There is a strong possibility with respect to the calling of a coroner's inquest.  An inquest in itself, with the ability to call witnesses for cross-examination, could resolve some of the lingering questions surrounding this matter.  It's clear that it would be premature at this time to make a commitment with respect to a public inquiry.

Mr. Phillips:
It's clear that the last thing you want to do is have a public inquiry, but it's not clear to anyone that you cannot call a public inquiry.  I again say to you, we have a legal opinion that says, "Westray" – this is the precedent the legal opinion cites – "now stands as a recent unanimous statement by the Supreme Court that a public inquiry may proceed" in a situation exactly like that in which we find ourselves.  In other words, you can commit today, the government can commit today to a public inquiry.  I repeat, there are serious unanswered questions about the whole sorry episode involving the Premier and involving senior members of the government.  You've put the OPP, in our opinion, in an intolerable position.  You've had a tragic conflict between the government and the first nations.  We have a legal opinion that says you can proceed with a public inquiry.  I repeat, are you prepared to table your legal opinion that says you cannot proceed now with a public inquiry?

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1997 August 7   Note about the missing link
     http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/committee-proceedings/committee_transcripts_details.do?locale=en&Date=1997-08-07&ParlCommID=53&BillID=&Business=Bill+99,+Workers'+Compensation+Reform+Act,+1996&DocumentID=18786#P916_277975


Standing Committee on Resources Development

Bill 99, Workers' Compensation Reform Act, 1996


The Chair:
I'd now like to call representatives from the United Steelworkers of America, Northwestern Ontario Area Council.  Welcome.

Mr. Moses Sheppard:
Thank you, Chair.  My name is Moses Sheppard and I'm a staff representative for the United Steelworkers.  I service local unions from Manitouwadge in the east to Red Lake in the west... I have with me, Madam Chair and members, a number of workers, most of whom are injured workers.  I too am an injured worker.  I worked in a mine a number of years ago.  I wonder how many of you know what it is to be an injured worker.  I first got injured in 1959.  I went deaf.  I was in the navy at the time.  I haven't heard anything out of my left ear for about nine years.  For the right ear I need a hearing aid.  In 1972, I broke my ankle in the mine.  By the time I got a specialist's help, the broken bone fragments had eroded the cartilage, and I've walked on bone on bone since 1972.  I used to run.  I can't run any more.  I used to climb.  I can't do that any more.  Dancing is difficult.  A hearing aid has no discrimination.  A hearing aid picks up the loudest sounds.  If you're speaking to your wife and a big truck goes by in the street, you will hear the big truck, not your wife or a little child.  I'm not asking for your sympathy.  I don't want your sympathy.  But I want to tell you that I'm representative of injured workers.  We go to work every day.  We don't complain.  We don't ask you for anything.  What we ask is the right to work and the right to be treated with decency, something that is sadly lacking in this province over the last three years.

Let me return to my brief.  I won't read it all.  I wanted to welcome you to the southern and eastern edge of the great northwest.  Some of you really should get in a car and go and have a look at northern Ontario.  North of Kenora, we could take all of southern Ontario and lose it.  It would take a satellite to find it.  There are workers up there.  They get hurt.  They'd like to see your faces.  They'd like to talk to you.  They'd like you to explain to them what it is about Bill 99 that's going to help them.  We have a worker here from Local 950 in Balmertown.  She'll speak to you in a moment as an injured worker.  We represent miners in Balmertown.  It's 600 kilometres to the north and west of us.  Yesterday in Balmertown, gasoline was 72.8 cents a litre.  Wieners were $2 a pound, without the bun and without the mustard.  You should go up and listen and talk to those people and tell them how they're going to get around after you've cut their compensation.  Old Joe Gobles, if he was here, would marvel at your ability to screw workers while at the same time telling them you're doing them a favour.  In 1914 we entered into a social compact in this province.  It was very simply put together: You don't sue me, the boss, and I, the boss, will provide for you, the injured worker.  For the first time since 1914, we are now making a major assault upon the principles, the underlying pinions of that social compact.  You are changing it, and you are changing it fundamentally.  The benefits that emanate from Bill 99 will go to bosses, not to injured workers.

I represent largely, and this union represents largely, miners in the northwest.  Mining is a brutal industry.  Through a series of small openings on the surface of the ground, men go into the bowels of the earth and they drill and they blast and they crush rocks all day, every day.  The rocks are full of silica and arsenic and mercury, to say nothing of the fallout from the explosives.  There's radiation, there's insufficient air, there's darkness and dampness; there's too much and too little heat and too much and too little cold.  These places are mechanically ventilated.  Frequently they don't work as well as they ought to, and sometimes they don't work at all.  It is no wonder that men get sick working there.  We had the good sense a number of years ago to put in place something called the Industrial Disease Standards Panel.  One of the jobs of that group was to look at and try to prove whether in fact conditions such as they are in mines were contributing to diseases.  Thanks to you, you have now shot the messenger.  You have outlawed and dispensed with that group of people.

I want just briefly to talk to you about mining companies.  You see, Westray was not unusual.  What was unusual about Westray was we killed 26 people all at once.  Most mines, we kill them one and two at a time.  But Westray is more representative of mining than maybe you want to believe.  There are wives and children and parents and other relatives looking for answers and closure in Pictou county.  Where are the two principals of the mining company?  Seeking refuge in the courts.  That's how we're going to help injured workers and dead workers: Go to the courts; protect your ass there.  If you've got a lot of money, you can do that.  If you haven't any money, you'll be shit out of luck.

I have a letter in my possession from 1954, written by a gold miner in Timmins.  He was in the tuberculosis sanatorium at Haileybury.  He wrote to Buck Behie, who was then the Steel staff rep in Timmins, and he said to Buck Behie: "There are 26 people in here.  Twenty-one of them are miners.  Where are the shopkeepers and where are the farmers and where are the politicians?  They're not here." Your response to that is to get rid of the disease standards panel.  We had a mining master file.  When we convinced the government of the day to compensate the widows of gold miners who had died of lung cancer, it wasn't based upon epidemiology; it was based upon the bodies stacking up in front of the mines.  It was a public embarrassment.  So what have you done?  You have destroyed the mining master file, dispensed with it.  Now we won't be able to find out what the hell is going on at all.  So you've shot the messenger; you've destroyed our ability to reconstruct the message...

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1997 September 3
     http://www.ontla.on.ca/committee-proceedings/transcripts/files_html/1997-09-03_e045.htm#PARA86


Standing Committee on Estimates
Ministry of the Attorney General


Mr. Gerry Phillips, (Scarborough-Agincourt):
The lawyers for the family, obviously with their own client relationship, have done an analysis of whether or not the government can proceed to call a public inquiry.  They cite the Westray mine experience.  Just as a small aside – interesting – it was Gerry Phillips v Nova Scotia in that case.  I used to get phone calls: Was I the Gerry Phillips of the Westray mine?  No, no, no.  It was Phillips v Nova Scotia, known as Westray.  The lawyers have analysed that and their conclusion is, "Westray now stands as a recent unanimous decision by the Supreme Court that a public inquiry may proceed in a situation exactly like that in which we find ourselves."  Have you or your staff now had a chance, because this is now two months old, to examine their conclusion?  It seems to me that we have a precedent here that would allow us to proceed with a public inquiry.  Is there any reason we couldn't proceed as the Westray mine inquiry is proceeding?

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1997 September 29
     http://hansardindex.ontla.on.ca/hansardeissue/36-1/l237a.htm#PARA166


Mr. Bud Wildman (Algoma):
My question is to the Premier.  I hope he is as positive and taciturn in his response to my question as he was to the Leader of the Opposition's first question.  My question is regarding Ipperwash and the wrongful death of Dudley George.  Earlier today the crown dropped weapons charges against one of the young demonstrators who drove a car at the riot police on the night of September 6, 1995, the night Dudley George was killed.  We have known all along that the demonstration at Ipperwash Provincial Park posed no threat to public safety.  Even the OPP identified no public risk and told the interministerial committee that at the meeting Deb Hutton, the Premier's executive assistant, attended.  On the next day, the OPP buildup occurred, though, and the police used force to try to enter the park.  We've been saying that this is an unprecedented buildup that led to a man's death.  Now another outstanding charge is out of the way.  This was the last criminal trial arising out of the events on September 6 and it has now been disposed of.  There is no reason to stall on a public inquiry.  Premier, it's time to call a public inquiry.

Hon. Michael D. Harris (Premier):
I know the Attorney General —

Speaker (Hon. Chris Stockwell):
Attorney General.

Hon. Charles Harnick (Attorney General, Minister Responsible for Native Affairs):
There are still matters of appeal before the courts, there are civil actions before the courts, and my understanding is that the crown is continuing with three charges that are presently before the courts even though a couple of those charges have been withdrawn.

Mr. Wildman:
To deal with the minister responsible for native affairs and the Attorney General, the Supreme Court of Canada has given some clear guidelines regarding inquiries so there cannot be any excuse about legal issues pending in this particular situation.  In the case of Westray and most recently in the Krever blood inquiry, the Supreme Court clarified the circumstances in which you can have an inquiry even when there are civil and/or criminal investigations outstanding.  The Supreme Court ruling on Krever states:

"The ability of an inquiry to investigate, educate and inform Canadians benefits our society.  A public inquiry before an impartial and independent commissioner which investigates the cause of tragedy and makes recommendations for change can help to prevent a recurrence of such tragedies in the future."

All the information we have is that the government can now have a public inquiry.  What is the government hiding?  When are you going to call a public inquiry?  Will you follow the Supreme Court ruling?

Mr. Harnick:
The member has been told before, and I will say again, that no one has precluded an inquiry taking place.  No decision has been made about that.  When all the criminal matters and the civil matter and the appeals are dealt with and the three outstanding charges are completed, that's something we will consider.  Consideration of that has never been precluded.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1997 December 1,   page 478
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-6/h97dec01.htm#[Page%20478]


Hon. Donald Downe, Minister of Transportation and Public Works
Mr. Speaker, tonight I would like to speak to this House and to all Nova Scotians as minister responsible for the government's response to the Westray report.

At 5:20 on the morning of May 9, 1992, this province was rocked by one of the worst tragedies in our history — the Westray Mine disaster.  That morning this province lost 26 coal miners; 26 families were left without loved ones and thousands of Nova Scotians shared in their pain and sadness.

Five years later, the memory and sadness of that day remains with us all, most especially with the families.  But today also marks one of the first steps toward understanding this senseless tragedy.  Today at 11:00 a.m. in Stellarton, Justice Peter Richard released his report into the Westray Mine disaster.  The commissioner's report is extensive with more than 700 pages and four volumes of information.  While we are just beginning to work our way through it, the overwhelming impression is that this report is thoughtful and thorough.

I would like to thank Justice Richard and his staff for their hard work and dedication in the face of challenge and complexity.  This report will make a real difference in the lives of working men and women in this province.  This government will see that it does.

I would also like to thank the families.  They have been the ones fighting to be heard, fighting to keep the memory of Westray alive and fighting to make a difference.  The families have been through hell and back.  While I can never fully understand their pain, I do understand their conviction.  I have sat in the same room and seen it face to face.

Earlier today the Premier established a Cabinet committee consisting of the Ministers of Labour, Natural Resources, Justice, and Housing and Municipal Affairs.  Westray will be given high priority.  This is not a report we will put on the shelf.  This is a report we will carry with us until all the issues are addressed.  We owe it to the families and we owe it to the memory of 26 miners.

This government will respond with an initial plan of action prior to Christmas.  We have a lot of ground to cover and many decisions to make but we are committed to a timely response.  The Westray families have waited long enough.

This government will do the right thing.  We will make this province a safer place for people to earn a living and to raise their families.  This morning I took a few minutes to visit the Westray memorial in Stellarton and I read the names of the 26 men once more.  We can never allow another Westray.  People do not go to work to die.  Unfortunately, this government cannot change the past.  I wish we could but we can make a difference in the future.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, 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.  Thank you. (Applause)

[boldface emphasis added]





Mr. Speaker:
The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

Dr. John Hamm:
Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his announcement today.  I first became aware of the Westray explosion at 6:00 o'clock on the morning of May 9, 1992, when I was called to the hospital having been told there was an explosion at the mine.  At 7:00 o'clock, I was at the pit-head only to be told that the hot gases coming out of the mine were still preventing anyone from entering the mine.  The questions began at that time as to why.

Now, the Westray report quotes a French sociologist and inspector general of mines for France in the 1800's, "The most important thing to come out of a mine is the miner".  With this in mind, today is the day to move on and take the recommendations of Justice Richard and ensure swift action.  I have faith that this government is sincere in its commitment to respond by Christmas through the Cabinet committee it announced today.  This is the very least we owe to the memory of those 26 young men who lost their lives on May 9, 1992, as well as their families who carry on five and one-half years later.

The blame has been squarely and widely laid after 77-some days of testimony from over 70 witnesses.  There was corporate, political and bureaucratic mismanagement.  The information from the inquiry, two years in the making, allows us to look at the mistakes and allows us to put in place procedures to ensure that such a calamity is never allowed to happen again.  Justice Richard has closed his book.  Now it is time for government to act to right this tragedy.  There need never be another Westray.

[boldface emphasis added]





Mr. Speaker:
The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.

Mr. Robert Chisholm:
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister's statement.  Let me just say that I was pleased to receive and to hear the recommendations of the commissioner today.  The responsibility with respect to this disaster was clearly laid at the feet of both the government and the company.  The recognition that the miners played no part in that was an important one for the miners who are still there in that community, and for the families of those who died.

Mr. Speaker, this committee that has been formed will clearly be judged on its actions.  The families, the miners and the people of Nova Scotia demand action, from this government, on those recommendations.  I must say that we need to dispel at least two myths right off the top.  Number one, we need to dispel the myth that there have been big improvements in workplace health and safety in the Province of Nova Scotia since 1992.  That is not, in fact, the case.  There are still problems out there, very serious problems.  We have an Act right now that is improved, but we still have many outstanding regulations that have not been passed, and we still have not put the resources towards inspection and enforcement to ensure that all those in workplaces recognize that it is not good enough to pay lip service anymore to workplace health and safety.

The second myth, Mr. Speaker, is that the way to create economic growth is to drive down employment costs, reducing wages, benefits, and employment security of employees.  All that does is that it reduces employees options, putting them in a position where many of those miners were, where they felt completely insecure in terms of their working conditions.  We must ensure that from this day forward the workers in the Province of Nova Scotia understand and feel confident that they can say, no, when faced with unhealthy and unsafe conditions at work...




House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1997 December 2, 1405 (2:05pm)
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/36/1/parlbus/chambus/house/debates/042_1997-12-02/han042_1405-e.htm


Mr. Darrel Stinson (Okanagan-Shuswap, Reform)
Mr. Speaker, the first duty of any government is to protect its law-abiding citizens.  Instead neither the province nor the federal government made sure that the men who went underground to mine coal at Westray came home safely each day.

According to the book The Westray Tragedy, CANMET recommended a more in-depth evaluation of the project.  Over one hundred men previously killed in the Foord coal seam should have been reason enough for governments to be extra cautious about Westray.  So why did the federal government suddenly give its stamp of approval through loan guarantees?  If the federal government had no worry for the safety of citizens working at Westray, why did it not even ensure that its investments could be recovered through long term safe and profitable operation of the Westray mine?

The report released yesterday reveals a chain of obvious preventable safety problems.  As project financier, Ottawa must share the blame for turning the federally assisted job project into a tomb, a mine so unsafe that eleven bodies have yet to be recovered, and a whole region in Nova Scotia remains in mourning.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1997 December 9,   page 1024
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han56-6/h97dec09.htm#[Page%201024]


Mr. John MacEachern, Cape Breton East:
Mr. Speaker... we will start with Westray... Remember the take or pay agreement?  Let me just remind you of this... They (the government) would buy 150,000 tons of coal if it stayed in the ground.  Now let's work our way through that now at $51 a ton. We were assured in the House over and over again  (Interruptions)  The member for Hants West is awake and I am thankful for that.  Let's consider 150,000 tons at $51 a ton every year.  Now the interesting part... If he didn't dig the coal he would get $51 a ton.  If he dug the coal, now take the labour costs, the risks and all of the other things, and he would get less than $51 a ton. Now... he would say, let's see, if I leave it in the ground I get $51 a ton, if I mine it, I get less than that and it costs me money to do it.

An Hon. member:
...the day off, how would he know?

Mr. MacEachern:
That is right.  In fact, if they stopped not digging it, how would they know they were taking the day off?

We had a discussion in this House one day in which the government was charged with, maybe next year they wouldn't dig the same ton of coal and get paid twice for not digging it.  They told us no, that there is a map and they are able to indicate that as they move from a block of coal they don't dig this year and a block of coal they don't dig this year, then they know which block of coal they didn't dig.  Now it gets better than that.  When you ask them what happens at the end of 15 years, and if you do a little bit of arithmetic, $51 by 150,000 tons of coal  (Interruption)  Oh, we'll get to it, you just stay with me here.  I am just getting going here, we'll get to that...

...Continuing here, if you work it and then we ask the question, what happens at the end of the 15 years after we gave all the money to this mining operator?  They said, we will own the coal then.  Mr. Speaker, we owned the coal before we started.  So we gave them all this money not to dig the coal and then we got the coal at the end of it even though it was still in the ground...

[boldface emphasis added]






Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1997 December 11
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/4th-36th/vol_011b/h011b_5.html


Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):
Madam Speaker, I rise on behalf of the families of mine workers who have been killed on the job. In 1992, 26 miners were killed in an underground coal mine explosion at Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Westray coal mine.  Last week, after five and one-half years of waiting for these families, Justice Richard released his findings in a report containing 74 recommendations. Justice Richard named people responsible for the disaster, indicating that a clear hierarchy of responsibility lies with mine management and government.

One quote from Justice Richard states: It is a story of incompetence, of mismanagement, of bureaucratic bungling, of deceit, of ruthlessness, of cover-up, of apathy, of expediency and of cynical indifference.

Justice Richard states that unacceptable performances of the mine safety inspector regulators must surely have destroyed the confidence that the people had in the inspectorate. Justice Richard recommended that Ottawa and the provinces should study accountability of corporate bosses for wrongful or negligent acts of a corporation with an eye to legislating it.  I could not agree more...

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1997 December 11
     http://hansardindex.ontla.on.ca/hansardEISSUE/36-1/L260a.htm


Ms. Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview):
I want to thank the member for Scarborough-Agincourt for bringing forward this issue of fundamental justice and fairness.  This is a story of heavy-handedness and bullying and hiding the truth and fabricating more of it, and in the end a story of an innocent man shot dead.  The facts have been recited here this morning.  Dudley George was killed on September 6, 1995.  The judge in the first instance found that he was unarmed.  Since then all the charges that have been laid by the crown have either been dropped or dismissed by the courts, with two civil suits pending.

The latest criminal charge that was dropped was September 29, 1997.  There has been outrage not only in the native community but in the broader sector.  Ontarians have been shocked to hear that in this province we would behave in this fashion.

I'd like to ask three questions.  One is, can an inquiry be called?  It's pretty clear that it can.  The Supreme Court of Canada, in the Westray mining disaster, indicated the circumstances under which a public inquiry may be called.  Time doesn't permit me to go into all the details, but I would suggest the Attorney General look into that...

[boldface emphasis added]






Newfoundland Legislature, St. John's
Hansard, 1997 December 16
     http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/hansard/ga43session2/97-12-16.htm


Mr. E. Byrne, MLA for Kilbride:
...The central point, I believe: it is a fact that minimum standards, in my opinion, are needed in the industry.  We do not have them with this legislation, in my opinion.  A clear example of everything that has gone wrong is the scary, lingering, totally unacceptable absence – again I will refer to it – of occupational health and safety standards.  It is an important point.  It cannot be understated.  The importance of regulations has to be viewed in direct contrast to the degree of unemployment that exists here.  We don't have to look too far, I say to hon. members, for individuals who throw all caution to the wind – and we have seen examples of it – for the sake of a few dollars, or where greed prevails.  We have seen it.  We have seen it in big projects.  We have seen it in areas where the economy has been depressed, where people are crying out for jobs.  The Westray Mine disaster is but one example of that situation and it is an important point that we don't get into that sort of situation here...

[boldface emphasis added]





 

1998






British Columbia Legislature, Victoria
Hansard, 1998 February 25
     http://www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/36thParl/foi/hansard/fi0225.htm


Special Committee to Review the
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act



L. Perrin (presenter):
...Getting down to the legislation that we have currently, my feeling is that the public not only has a right to information with regard to their government and what their government does, but also has an obligation to be informed.  I'll cite two cases from the past – one from the thirties and the forties, and that's what happened under Hitler.  A lot of people said: "Gee, we didn't know.  Those horrific things took place because we didn't know."  And a lot of us say: "Sorry, we don't buy that."  I think that if the people of Germany had had a right to information, maybe some of those things wouldn't have happened.  More recently and in Canada, the Westray incident, with regard to a lot of the miners losing their lives in Nova Scotia... I believe that if people had accessed information, they might have been able to prevent that tragedy, too....

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1998 April 28
     http://hansardindex.ontla.on.ca/hansardeissue/36-2/l003.htm


Members' Statements: Workers' Memorial Day


Mr. David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre):
Today is the day we set aside in Ontario each year to honour the memory of all those who have died in workplace accidents or from occupational disease.  Each year on April 28 workers take time to remind ourselves that it is important at all times to "Mourn the dead and fight for the living"...

It's always worth remembering why April 28 has been chosen as a day of mourning.  This date commemorates April 28, 1914, when this Legislature passed Ontario's first Workmen's Compensation Act.  That legislation embodied an historic compromise between workers and employers in which injured workers and their families were guaranteed fair compensation and employers were shielded from liability litigation...

Recently, the importance of the system we have here in Ontario was emphasized by the report of the inquiry into the Westray mine disaster in Nova Scotia.  That inquiry cited the Ontario legislation, including mandatory joint health and safety committees, as a model that could have prevented the Westray disaster...

[boldface emphasis added]






Ontario Legislature, Toronto
Hansard, 1998 April 28
     http://hansardindex.ontla.on.ca/hansardEISSUE/36-1/L260a.htm


Private Members' Public Business
Ipperwash Provincial Park


Ms  Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview):
I want to thank the member for Scarborough-Agincourt for bringing forward this issue of fundamental justice and fairness.  This is a story of heavy-handedness and bullying and hiding the truth and fabricating more of it, and in the end a story of an innocent man shot dead.  The facts have been recited here this morning.  Dudley George was killed on September 6, 1995.  The judge in the first instance found that he was unarmed.  Since then all the charges that have been laid by the crown have either been dropped or dismissed by the courts, with two civil suits pending.  The latest criminal charge that was dropped was September 29, 1997.  There has been outrage not only in the native community but in the broader sector.  Ontarians have been shocked to hear that in this province we would behave in this fashion.

I'd like to ask three questions.  One is, can an inquiry be called?  It's pretty clear that it can.  The Supreme Court of Canada, in the Westray mining disaster, indicated the circumstances under which a public inquiry may be called.  Time doesn't permit me to go into all the details, but I would suggest the Attorney General look into that.  Second, in the Krever blood inquiry clear guidelines were again set by the Supreme Court of Canada, where there are civil and/or criminal investigations.  The ruling on Krever again could not be clearer and the Attorney General should have a look at that.

Third, I would say to the Attorney General that he himself has called for inquiries where there were civil cases pending.  I would remind him that in the Bernardo case he ordered an inquiry and the cases coming out of the Bernardo case are still before the courts.  Why an inquiry?  I think the answers to that are fairly evident.  There is contradictory evidence before the public of Ontario, and justice demands a fair hearing.  What would an inquiry be charged with doing?  We need to know what directions were given to the OPP.  Why did the OPP abandon its long-standing policy of negotiation and instead engage in confrontation?  Why did the government seek an ex parte injunction?  Why were the aboriginal people's claim of a burial ground ignored?  Who authorized the OPP buildup at Ipperwash?  Why was Dudley George characterized as armed when in fact he was not?

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1998 May 8, 1105 (11:05am)
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/36/1/parlbus/chambus/house/debates/102_1998-05-08/han102_1105-e.htm

Ms. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP)
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of the Westray disaster.  In 1991 the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy bestowed upon Clifford Frame, owner of Westray mine, the John T. Ryan award for mine safety.  At 5:20 a.m. on May 9, 1992 the Westray mine exploded taking the lives of 26 miners.  The Westray tragedy was not an accident and it was not a natural disaster.  It was the end result of management that had no regard for safety and of governments that failed to ensure the well-being of workers.  It was profit before people.  The United Steelworkers of America provided support to the miners and families from Westray.  Together they were the driving force behind the Westray inquiry.  It was the United Steelworkers of America who questioned the awarding of the John T. Ryan award to Clifford Frame and Curragh Resources.  After a lengthy campaign by the steelworkers, on April 9 of this year the award was rescinded.  The Westray tragedy is a reminder of why we need unions to protect workers' rights and lives.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1998 May 22,   page 57
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han57-1/h98may22.htm#[Page%2057]

Resolution Number 19

Mr. Kevin Deveaux, MLA Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage:
I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:
    Whereas this week is Occupational Health and Safety Week in the Province of Nova Scotia; and
    Whereas even today, more than six years after the Westray Mine blew up and killed 26 workers, there are far too many people hurt or killed in work-related accidents; and
    Whereas according to the Mainland Building Trades Council five construction industry workers have died already this year and thousands of Nova Scotians continue to go to work each day under archaic safety regulations;
    Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House demand this government stop its endless stalling and finally approve proposed new safety regulations so that Nova Scotians can finally begin to feel safe at work.
    Mr. Speaker, I move waiver of notice.

Mr. Speaker:
    There has been a request for waiver.
    Is it agreed?
    It is agreed.
    Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye.  Contrary minded, Nay.

An Hon. Member:
    Nay.  (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker:
    There was no Nay when I asked for the waiver.
    The motion is carried.

[boldface emphasis added]






British Columbia Legislature, Victoria
Hansard, 1998 May 26,   page 8128
     http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/36th3rd/h0526pm.htm#8128


Hon. Dale Lovick (Nanaimo), Minister of Labour:
...I think at this point, Mr. Chairman, that I also ought to explain in a little detail why this new section is here.  The reason the new section is here is essentially because recent history in this country has demonstrated that some people have indeed been able to hide behind the corporate veil, as the saying goes.  And let me give you the paradigm illustration, and that's the Westray mine disaster.  You recall what happened there.  It was a matter of all of the principals involved, including governments, essentially going like this: "Look somewhere else.  It wasn't me; it wasn't our fault."  And at the end of the day the question was: does anybody own this tragedy; does anybody own this horrible, horrible thing that happened?

The Nova Scotia government, following the Westray inquiry and that horrible disaster, wrote to the federal minister responsible requesting changes to the Criminal Code of Canada — to the Criminal Code — to make corporate directors more accountable.  Other jurisdictions are also looking at doing something, again to ensure that those kinds of tragedies won't happen and the guilty go free.  I think that's a legitimate and necessary response to those kinds of disasters.

For example, the Ontario statute on occupational health and safety contains similar language to what we are proposing here.  The difference, though, is that because the Ontario statute doesn't have a defence of due diligence built into the statute, it therefore uses language that "all reasonable care must be taken."  I understand there have been cases in Ontario where corporate directors and officers have been charged with an offence.  There haven't been prison sentences given, but individuals certainly have been personally fined.  And so, in other jurisdictions, as I say, in looking at this problem about corporate responsibility and the directors' responsibility, that's the conclusion.

I also understand that the province of Nova Scotia is likely to move to similar language regarding occupational health and safety, precisely because of the Westray disaster.  I think, then, that what we're doing here is defensible and appropriate.  In order to prevent what occurred in Westray, the price we pay in perhaps an increased cost in terms of liability insurance is defensible and legitimate...

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1998 June 12,   page 1283
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han57-1/h98jun12.htm#[Page%201283]

Resolution Number 649

Dr. John Hamm, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party:
Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:
    Whereas six years is simply too long for the former unionized and non-unionized employees of the Westray Mine to still be blocked from receipt of the severance due them for loss of employment through no fault of their own; and
    Whereas if, as the Premier has stated in a letter to the area Member of Parliament, that he has the "... utmost concern for the former Westray employees...", he would have seen fit to it that this issue was put to rest for former employees, especially after the report by Justice Peter Richard concluded that company management had been derelict in its duty to operate the mine safely; and
    Whereas these employees have been waiting for six years now and while the small severance expected will never compensate the workers for the distress they have been placed under for so long, it will provide some conclusion to the ordeal;
    Therefore be it resolved that this Premier and this government do the right thing now and help close the book on the terrible tragedy of Westray by cutting through the legal complications the Premier is said to be stalled by and award severance to both the former union and non-union employees.

Mr. Speaker:
    The notice is tabled.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1998 June 15,   page 1318
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han57-1/h98jun15.htm#[Page%201318]

Resolution Number 681

Mr. Charles Parker, MLA Pictou West:
Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:
    Whereas on December 30, 1997, the Labour Standards Tribunal awarded former employees of the Westray Mine 12 weeks pay in lieu of notice; and
    Whereas the claim under the Labour Standards Code is a result of the tragic explosion of May 9, 1992, and was to consist of a payment of $1.2 million to 118 former Westray employees; and
    Whereas the claim was to have been paid within two to three months from the sale of Westray assets but has not been forthcoming;
    Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government and its Westray point man, the Minister of Finance, to take whatever steps are necessary to pay immediately the claim established under the Labour Standards Code.
    Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

Mr. Speaker:
    There has been a request for waiver.
    Is it agreed?
    I hear several Noes.
    The notice is tabled.

[boldface emphasis added]






Manitoba Legislature, Winnipeg
Hansard, 1998 June 15
     http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/hansard/4th-36th/vol_064/h064_12.html


Second reading: Bill 54, The Engineering and Geoscientific
Professions and Consequential Amendments Act


Mr. Daryl Reid (Transcona):
...It makes a very strong claim in this letter that we received from the APEM indicating that this particular legislation will go a fair way to protecting against occurrences involving the Westray mine disaster and Bre-X.  That is a pretty strong claim to make, knowing the circumstances involved with the Westray mines more closely related to my own critic responsibilities.  Perhaps it would have helped to have a code of practice or ethics or standards in place but from what we read in the Westray report, the judicial report that came out, there was much more than just codes of practice that were involved.  There was much more by way of coercion and intimidation that was involved in that particular scandal as well.  While I am not a person who has a geological or geophysicist experience, the Bre-X gold fraud or scandal was something that the APEM are saying that now they can protect against by way of this act.  Again, I am not really sure how you can make that claim, but perhaps, I guess, if everybody adheres to codes of practice or standards of conduct, then we would expect 100 percent compliance, but since as we see in various situations in our own personal lives experiences not everyone adheres to codes of practice.  I am not sure how the APEM can make that claim at this time and it would be interesting to hear, should they come forward in committee, how they can describe their abilities to prevent against the Westray mine disaster and the Bre-X fraud.  This bill will introduce new definitions of practice of engineering and the practice of geoscience consistent with those adopted by the national body.  I guess the first question that comes to mind with respect to that: has the Department of Labour looked at the standards or the codes of practice that are in place by the national body, and does the province subscribe to all of those codes of practice; what role will the province play in ensuring that they are kept informed of those changes in codes of practices and whether or not they have some say in how they are brought forward and how they are implemented?...

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1998 October 20,   page 2250
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han57-1/h98oct20.htm#[Page%202250]

Introduction of Bills

Bill No. 34...

Bill No. 35...

Bill No. 36...

Bill No. 37
Entitled an Act to Provide for the Immediate Payment of Benefits to Westray Workers.
(Mr. Charles Parker)

Mr. Speaker:
Ordered that these bills be read a second time on a future day.

[boldface emphasis added]






Bill No. 37
Westray Payment of Benefits (1998) Act

Charlie Parker, Pictou West

First Reading: October 20, 1998

An Act to Provide for the
Immediate Payment of Benefits
to Westray Workers

Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:

1   This Act may be cited as the Westray Payment of Benefits (1998) Act.

2   The Government shall, within fourteen days of the coming into force of this Act, pay to the employees of Curragh Resources employed on the date of the Westray Disaster, all benefits those employees are entitled to pursuant to the Labour Standards Code.

3   (1) The money to make the payments referred to in Section 2 shall, notwithstanding the Workers' Compensation Act, be taken from the Accident Fund established pursuant to that Act.
(2) The money taken from the Accident Fund pursuant to subsection (1) shall be repaid to the Fund by the government from money appropriated by the Legislature for that purpose.

4   (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, benefits shall not be paid to a former employee of Curragh Resources who, in the opinion of the Minister of Labour, caused or contributed to the Westray Disaster.
(2) An opinion of the Minister of Labour pursuant to subsection (1) is not an expression of civil or criminal liability but is made only for the purpose of this Act.
Westray Payment of Benefits (1998) Act
     http://nslegislature.ca/legc/bills/57th_1st/1st_read/b037.htm#text

This bill never got beyond First Reading.

[boldface emphasis added]





Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1998 October 27,   page 2756
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han57-1/h98oct27.htm#[Page%202756]


Mr. Kevin Deveaux, MLA Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage:
Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Justice.  I want to take the minister back to June 30, 1998, a day which I am sure he will recall, it is the day this House closed and it is also the day that the Westray prosecution was stayed.  To the chagrin of many people that was done and it is probably a coincidence that it happened on the last day of the spring sitting.  It has been widely reported that there is still a chance that the Westray case could be reopened.  In fact, Justice Kaufman is reviewing the prosecution and may very well make that recommendation.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Justice.  Will the minister now tell this House whether or not it is his understanding that there still remains a possibility that the Westray prosecution could be restarted?

Hon. James Smith, Minister of Justice:
Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member has mentioned, Justice Kaufman is conducting an inquiry.  He has recently made the public statement that he would look into Westray and expand his inquiry into matters surrounding that.  He has designated two lawyers to work on that particularly, and he will be making recommendations to that effect.  In answer to the question, that would be one possibility, that Justice Kaufman could make that recommendation to extend an inquiry.

Mr. Deveaux:
Mr. Speaker, again through you to the Minister of Justice.  Well, it has come to my attention that it is not possible for the Westray prosecution to be restarted.  The Public Prosecution Service has given an irrevocable promise, called an undertaking, that the prosecution will never be started again.  My question to this minister, why has this minister buried this undertaking and shut out the families of Westray to prevent justice in this case?

Dr. Smith:
Mr. Speaker, the Public Prosecution Service has made certain statements relative to this matter; that is correct. Those statements have made it difficult, perhaps, to open the case. I am not quite sure what the honourable member is quoting, that it cannot be opened.  The matter will receive Justice Kaufman's report, and we will go from there.  The statements have been made though, by learned people, that it is considered in light of the statements made by the Public Prosecution Service that any prosecution on the Westray matter would be difficult in a court of law.

Mr. Deveaux:
Mr. Speaker, again through you to the Minister of Justice.  The Minister of Justice has fumbled the ball on this prosecution from day one.  In particular, he should know — and if he was a lawyer, he might very well know — that a verbal undertaking is as good as a written undertaking.  (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker:
Order, please. Question, please.

Mr. Deveaux:
My question to the Minister of Justice, will he table that undertaking in the House by this time tomorrow?

Dr. Smith:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House, and I make no apologies to the House or to that member or the people of Nova Scotia for the fact that I am not a lawyer.  I have been a member of this House of Assembly since 1984.  I take my job very seriously, and I will conduct my business in a thoughtful and caring manner, as well as I can do; that is all that any member of the House can do.  As far as that type of comment, I am not standing here to defend my ability in that.  (Applause)

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1998 October 27,   page 2764
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han57-1/h98oct27.htm#[Page%202764]


Mr. Kevin Deveaux, MLA Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage:
Mr. Speaker, my question again through you is to the Minister of Justice.  In June 1997, there was an application to the Public Prosecution Service with regard to certain reports from the Westray prosecution.  On August 24, 1998, the Freedom of Information Review Officer reported that the Public Prosecution Service had stonewalled that application and failed to provide the information as required.  Indeed, the information still has not been provided even though the review officer recommended that it be done immediately.  My question is what is the minister doing to ensure that information about the Westray prosecution is made available as quickly as possible, as recommended by the independent review officer?

Hon. James Smith, Minister of Justice:
Mr. Speaker, the Public Prosecution Service is an independent service that directives may be issued from the Attorney General.  What I have done in looking at the operation of that service is to order an inquiry by Justice Kaufman and that is being carried out as we speak.  We are looking forward to an interim report perhaps toward the end of the year, then a further report and then his recommendations will be treated seriously.

Mr. Deveaux:
Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Justice, I don't recall Justice Kaufman's mandate including a review of this particular incident, but I want to say, in the same FOI report, the review officer said that the Public Prosecution Service had not been candid, it was highly technical in its response and that dealing with the Public Prosecution Service was frustrating for him.  There is a clear implication in all of this, the Public Prosecution Service has something to hide on Westray.  My question to the Minister of Justice is, quite simply, what is he hiding?

Dr. Smith:
Mr. Speaker, the function of the Public Prosecution Service is an independent body from government.  It is designed to stop and prevent interference from elected public ministers and that is the process that I would follow.  The freedom of information is an Act, there is a balance between the release of information and the protection of privacy.  I will respect that process.

Mr. Deveaux:
Mr. Speaker, whether or not the Minister of Justice is responsible for the Public Prosecution Service, he is responsible for the freedom of information Act; particularly, it is one of the few things that is keeping this government honest, and the review officer is the glue that binds it.  My question to the Minister of Justice is quite straightforward.  When is this government going to stop hiding the truth and give us the freedom of information law which this province so sadly deserves?

Dr. Smith:
Mr. Speaker, the freedom of information Act is one that is continually going to review and update.  I feel that we have an Act that is working in this province.  There are issues.  People are sometimes dissatisfied, but as I say, there is a balance between the public right to know, and information released there, and the privacy of persons.  I have respect for the Public Prosecution Service, and that is one that will be reviewed under the current review.

[boldface emphasis added]






Alberta Legislature, Edmonton
Hansard, 1998 November 16
     http://www.assembly.ab.ca/Documents/isysquery/c5c05753-3d5e-4124-92c6-cc43a67b2e40/3/doc/


Mrs. Nancy MacBeth, Leader of the Official Opposition:
Oh, Mr. Speaker, you know, if the Premier's not guilty of any inappropriate direction in this matter, why is he so afraid to call a public inquiry so that all Albertans can find out once and for all what happened?

Mr. Ralph Klein, Premier:
Mr. Speaker, first of all I'm not afraid of a public inquiry relative to this issue.  I have said: let the Auditor General look at all the information.  He's an officer of this Legislature, appointed in conjunction with the opposition party.  He is the appropriate person to examine these facts.  I have always said that if he comes to the conclusion that such an inquiry should be held, then we will give that recommendation consideration at that time, and if there are sound reasons, we would call a public inquiry.  Mr. Speaker, there are reasons and there are legal reasons relative to why a public inquiry should not be held at this particular time, and I would ask the hon. Attorney General to supplement my answer.

Mr. Havelock, Government House Leader:
Mr. Speaker, thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Premier.  If there is a public inquiry, prosecution of charges subsequently laid may be affected.  There are risks to the potential criminal prosecution that the government should weigh carefully.  There are two primary risks.  The publicity generated by a public inquiry could potentially compromise the ability of an accused to have a fair trial, and if a judge decided this was so, then the criminal charges would be stayed.

Secondly, at a public inquiry persons who are potential accused can be compelled to give evidence.  If their testimony gives rise to subsequent discovery of further incriminating evidence, that evidence could be excluded by the criminal courts so that it would not be usable in evidence.

I'd like to refer, Mr. Speaker, to a case which generated significant publicity across the country, and that was the Westray case.  The Supreme Court had this to say regarding the difficulties posed by a public inquiry where criminal charges are subsequently laid against a witness.  What they said is as follows: in some circumstances proceeding with a public inquiry may so jeopardize the criminal trial of a witness called at the inquiry that it may be stayed or result in important evidence being held as inadmissible at the criminal trial; in those situations it is an executive branch of government that should make the decision whether to proceed with a public inquiry.

Clearly, Mr. Speaker, it has been indicated publicly by the RCMP that they are investigating any activities which may be of a criminal nature with respect to this matter, and for a public inquiry to be called at this time may undermine that investigation and subsequent prosecution.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1998 November 27,   page 3694
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han57-1/h98nov13.htm#[Page%203694]

Resolution Number 1805

Dr. John Hamm, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party:
Mr. Speaker, that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:
    Whereas many former Westray mine workers continue to suffer severe financial hardship since the tragic explosion almost six and one-half years ago; and
    Whereas the Liberal Government has often made statements which have led Nova Scotians to believe that the former Westray employees would be receiving long-awaited and much-deserved severance packages; and
    Whereas the latest promise was made in this House on October 22nd when the Premier stated that "...the Department of Labour is now contacting the workers and processing that paper to get the cheques into the mail", yet almost four weeks later, the promised cheques have not been received;
    Therefore be it resolved that the Premier live up to the promises he made to the former workers of Westray and immediately ensure that these cheques are received by the individuals who need and deserve fair treatment.

Mr. Speaker:
    The notice is tabled.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1998 November 27,   page 4544
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han57-1/h98nov27.htm#[Page%204544]

Resolution Number 2186

Mr. Robert Chisholm, Leader of the Opposition:
Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:
    Whereas the government intends to proceed with demolition of the twin silos at the former Westray Coal Mine today, November 27th; and
    Whereas one reason for demolition is that the towers are a physical reminder of the neglect and disregard for workers' lives that resulted in the tragic loss of 26 men's lives in that mine; and
    Whereas another painful reminder is that many months have gone by since the Westray families proposed a financial settlement with the province after the Westray prosecution was dropped;
    Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government to respond to the Westray families and conclude a settlement with them, just as it has moved to resolve the outstanding severance issues and to demolish the Westray Coal Mine towers.
    Mr. Speaker, I would seek waiver of notice.

Mr. Speaker:
    There has been a request for waiver.
    Is it agreed?
    I hear a No.
    The notice is tabled.

[boldface emphasis added]






Nova Scotia Legislature, Halifax
Hansard, 1998 November 27,   page 4589
     http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/hansard/han57-1/h98nov27.htm#[Page%204589]


Hon. Russell MacLellan, Q.C. The Premier:
Mr. Speaker, I would like to report to the House that I have just been informed that the coal silos at the Westray Mine site have been successfully brought down.  The demolition happened at approximately 11:00 a.m. Minister Huskilson was on the site this morning to witness the event and he just called to say that everything went well.

The government recognizes the symbolic significance of today's event.  Many families and friends gathered near the site this morning to witness the moment.  We hope that this helps to close another chapter in the grieving process for the loved ones of the 26 miners who lost their lives on May 9, 1992.  Westray is a tragic event in Nova Scotia's history that will never be forgotten.  We have paid the price for the lessons learned here.

On behalf of this Legislature and all Nova Scotians, I want those people to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them today as always.  (Applause)

Mr. Speaker:
The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

M. Robert Chisholm, Leader of the Opposition:
Mr. Speaker, there is no question that in many ways, the towers were a physical reminder of the neglect and the disregard for workers' lives that resulted in that tragic loss of 26 men's lives in the mine.  Undoubtedly it will bring some considerable comfort to many, that they are no longer there.

I would again remind the government and other members of this House that another painful reminder is that many months have gone by since the Westray families proposed a financial settlement with the province, after the Westray prosecution was dropped.  I would urge the government, in order to properly address all of the components and facets of this tragedy and its memory, that they will respond, and respond in a positive way, to a proposal which I believe is extremely responsible and quite appropriate.  Thank you.  (Applause)

Mr. Speaker:
The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

Dr. John Hamm, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party:
Mr. Speaker, when I come out the front door of my home, on the other side of the East River Valley, I can see those silos.  Obviously, when I go home later tonight, that will no longer be the case.  They dominated the landscape of that part of Pictou County and have been a constant reminder of what went on on May 9, 1992.  For family members to see those silos go, I believe, as the Premier has indicated, will be a furthering of the closure process for those families.

Those of us in Pictou County who were in the county on May 9, 1992 will never forget that day, the days following or a week following when Pictonians demonstrated the ability to respond to a neighbour's distress.  I personally will never forget receiving a telephone call at 5:58 p.m. (sic) on May 9, 1992 informing me that the mine had in fact blown up.  It is one of those moments that will remain with me forever.  Thank you.  (Applause)

Mr. Speaker:
The honourable member for Pictou East.

Mr. James DeWolfe, MLA Pictou East:
Mr. Speaker, the Westray silos were a grim reminder of a tragic situation.  I have to say that when I opened the drapes in my office, they were in full view from my workplace.  I am indeed pleased to see that this has finally been taken care of.  I was very saddened when we were faced with still another obstacle earlier on in the demolition of these.  It was the right thing to do.

Certainly I have to mention one family in particular that lives almost below the silos, the Doyles, who lost a son there.  I know how pleased they will be that that has finally been taken care of.  (Applause)

Mr. Speaker:
The honourable member for Pictou West.

Mr. Charles Parker, MLA Pictou West:
Mr. Speaker, I too certainly am glad to see a chapter of this Westray saga come to a close.  In Pictou County, I know it has deeply affected the lives of many people in our communities.  I can certainly well recall the date of May 9, 1992, and how it really shocked and hurt many people within our community.  It really spread from there, across the country and across the world.  It was a major tragedy, and certainly a big news story at the time. 

It is certainly nice to see that the silos have come down, and perhaps now people can get on with other things in their lives, although there is still the families of the Westray survivors and the people who are still looking for fairness and compensation from the system.  We hope that can be resolved very shortly as well.  Thank you.  (Applause)

[boldface emphasis added]





 

1999






Alberta Legislature, Edmonton
Hansard, 1999 March 18
     http://www.assembly.ab.ca/Documents/isysquery/c5c05753-3d5e-4124-92c6-cc43a67b2e40/3/doc/


Mr. Smith, Edmonton-Glengarry, Minister of Labour:
Mr. Chairman,... we were talking about alternate service delivery for mining inspections, which is now contracted.  We know by the work that we've done and the analysis that was done that there's no chance of a Westray-type mine disaster ever occurring in Alberta.  Training and education are different.  We've seen the advent of safety associations, training by postsecondary institutions, and we have not reduced service or quality levels.  In fact, the rate of workplace injuries has gone down since 1994...

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1999 April 23
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/36/1/parlbus/chambus/house/journals/214_1999-04-23/214Votes-E.html


Private Members' Business M-455
Workplace Safety


At 12:15 p.m., by unanimous consent, the House proceeded to the consideration of Private Members' Business.

Mr. MacKay (Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough), seconded by Mr. Casey (Cumberland-Colchester), moved, — That, in the opinion of this House, the Criminal Code or other appropriate federal statutes should be amended in accordance with Recommendation 73 of the Province of Nova Scotia's Public Inquiry into the Westray disaster, specifically with the goal of ensuring that corporate executives and directors are held properly accountable for workplace safety.  (Private Members' Business M-455)
Debate arose thereon.

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1999 April 23
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/36/1/parlbus/chambus/house/debates/214_1999-04-23/han214_1245-e.htm


Private Members' Business M-455
Workplace Safety


Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, Reform):
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure today to speak to Motion No. 455. The potential exists in terms of corporate responsibility.

One of the most dramatic examples of negligence on the part of corporate Canada was the 1992 Westray explosion which killed 26 miners.  It was a disaster that did not need to happen, but it did.  My hon. colleague from the Conservative Party should be commended for putting this motion forward.

Motion No. 455 deals with some very hard questions.  It states very clearly that corporate executives cannot hide behind their titles when they engage in behaviour that has proven to be negligent or harmful to the people working under them.  We must also ensure that Motion No. 455 is not used as a cudgel to slam on the head of the executive world when it is not negligent and not responsible...

...I will summarize by saying that Motion No. 455 has some excellent points.  I commend the member from the Conservative Party for putting it forward.  We need to study this to ensure that those in corporate Canada do not hide behind their titles and abuse the people.  The other side is to use this as a window for corporate Canada to engage in public good not only within our country but also abroad.

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1999 April 23
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/36/1/parlbus/chambus/house/debates/214_1999-04-23/han214_1255-e.htm


Private Members' Business M-455
Workplace Safety


Mrs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, Bloc Quebecois):
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the first hour of debate on Motion M-455, moved by the hon. member for Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough, which reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of this House, the Criminal Code or other appropriate federal statutes should be amended in accordance with Recommendation 73 of the Province of Nova Scotia's Public Inquiry into the Westray disaster, specifically with the goal of ensuring that corporate executives and directors are held properly accountable for workplace safety.


Let us first look at the facts surrounding the Westray mine tragedy and all the proceedings that led to the commission's report.  On May 9, 1992, an explosion occurred at the Westray mine, killing 26 workers.  On May 15 of that same year, the Government of Nova Scotia appointed Mr. Justice Peter Richard to head a commission of inquiry established under the Public Inquiries Act. Mr. Justice Richard was also appointed special investigator under the Coal Mining Regulation Act.  The commission had a very broad mandate, so as to shed light on the explosion and all the related circumstances.  In fact, Nova Scotia's premier at the time, Donald Cameron, was very clear about that mandate:

Mr. Justice Richard's inquiry will not be limited to the events of the early morning of May 9.  Nothing and no person with any light to shed on this tragedy will escape the scrutiny of this inquiry.


The commission's work thus began immediately, to prepare for the public hearings set to begin on October 19, 1992.

Curragh Resources Inc. and Westray's management challenged the validity of the order in council establishing the commission of inquiry, and this, as members can imagine, led to numerous legal proceedings.  Because of these delays, the Richard report was tabled only five years later, in November 1997.  The report, entitled "The Westray Story: A Predictable Path to Disaster", contains 74 recommendations.  It concluded in general that this tragedy could have been avoided if minimal occupational safety standards had been met...

Our main concern today is recommendation 73 of the report.  It is addressed to the federal government and deals with Criminal Code amendments on the responsibility of directors for safety in the workplace.

The commissioner made this recommendation because of the criminal proceedings undertaken while Mr. Justice Richard's public inquiry was underway.  On April 20, 1993, the RCMP announced that charges were being laid against Curragh Resources Inc., as well as Gerald Phillips and Roger Parry, two members of the mine's management.  They were charged with criminal negligence and homicide under sections 220 and 222(5) of the Criminal Code.

Since the court found that those charges were too vague for the accused to be able to put up an appropriate defence, other charges were laid, based on infractions under provincial laws on occupational safety.

This is why Mr. Justice Richard made recommendation 73.  If we are to understand clearly the meaning of the motion before the House, we should first have a look at recommendation 73 of the Westray mine public inquiry:

The Government of Canada, through the Department of Justice, should institute a study of the accountability of corporate executives and directors for the wrongful or negligent acts of the corporation and should introduce in the Parliament of Canada such amendments to legislation as are necessary to ensure that corporate executives and directors are held properly accountable for workplace safety.


The current effectiveness of the provisions of the Criminal Code dealing with the accountability of corporate executives with regard to workplace safety is of concern to us.  This is why we believe this issue should be looked at from a general perspective and not solely within the context of the Westray mine. In our view, criminal proceedings against Westray mine officers, which have proved fruitless so far, were affected by the climate created by the public enquiry.  Therefore, the study should ensure that the provisions of the Criminal Code complement the provisions in the various provincial statutes dealing with workplace safety.

We support the member's motion.  An in-depth and thorough review of the issue must take place before any legislative changes are introduced.  Recommendation 73 clearly proposes that a study take place prior to making any such changes.  We believe, and I hope my colleague who is sponsoring this motion will agree with me, it would be more appropriate for the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to undertake this study.  This is why I am proposing the following amendment:

That the motion be amended by adding after the word "amended" the following:  ", following a study by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights,"


In our opinion this amendment clarifies the motion and is in keeping with recommendation 73.  With this amendment, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights would be charged with carrying out the study referred to in recommendation 73 by the commission of inquiry.  We could then have clear reason to amend the Criminal Code.

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1999 April 23
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/36/1/parlbus/chambus/house/debates/214_1999-04-23/han214_1305-e.htm


Private Members' Business M-455
Workplace Safety


Mr. Peter Mancini (Sydney-Victoria, NDP):
Madam Speaker, Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to address the motion of my colleague from Nova Scotia, the member for Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough.  It is also my pleasure to indicate that he will have, as he knows, my support on the motion.  He will have the support of our party as well.

His motion calls for the government to act upon recommendation No.  73 of the public inquiry of the province of Nova Scotia into the Westray disaster and to amend the Criminal Code accordingly.  It mirrors very much a bill that was introduced by the leader of our party in relation to the Westray disaster in January 1999.  Our bill details the specific changes to the Criminal Code required to address the concerns of corporate liability and workplace safety as indicated in the Westray report.

I began by saying the hon. member knows he will have my support.  I come from the same province.  I come from a coal mining community.  I remember well the Westray disaster because that day I was not in Nova Scotia.  My wife and I had taken some time and were outside the province.  When we called home and spoke to the caregiver who was looking after our children we did not talk about the weather.  We did not talk a whole lot.  The first thing we were apprised of was the situation in Westray.

It is perhaps difficult for those who do not live in mining communities to understand the impact of that news.  Coming from Cape Breton we knew that it would be our friends and colleagues who would volunteer to go into those mines to find the bodies of the 26 coal miners who were killed, and they did.

For those who live in communities where there are coal mines, for those who live in industrial communities, it is difficult to describe how ingrained and how we know that disaster lurks around the corner.  When a whistle blows, when there is the sound of an explosion from the blast furnace, when we look at the changing colour of the sky and the fishermen are out on the water, we know that there will be disaster.  We live with that reality every day...

We live with the frustrating knowledge that corporations which exploit workers in areas of high unemployment in dangerous settings literally get away with murder.  It is that reality which the motion and the New Democratic Party's bill seek to address. 

I say this having listened to the speaker on the government side.  I will not dwell on it, but one of the real concerns we have as the government dismantles the Cape Breton Development Corporation is that it will move to a private mine without a union under provincial jurisdiction, without the protections we now have, which were the very circumstances that led to the disaster at Westray.  I urge the government to bear that in mind.

There are ways to prevent this.  One way is to accept the motion and the New Democratic Party's bill.  I will read from the wording of Justice Richard in the Westray report:

The Westray Story is a complex mosaic of actions, omissions, mistakes, incompetence, apathy, cynicism, stupidity, neglect — Viewed in context, these seemingly isolated incidents constitute a mindset or operating philosophy that appears to favour expediency over intelligent planning and that trivializes safety concerns.  Indeed, management at Westray displayed a certain disdain for safety and appeared to regard safety conscious workers as the wimps in the organization.  To its discredit, the management at Westray, through either incompetence or ignorance, lost sight of the basic tenet of coal mining that safe mining is good business.


The tale that unfolds in the Westray report is a story of incompetence, of mismanagement, of bureaucratic bungling, of deceit, of ruthlessness, of cover-up, of apathy, of expediency and of cynical indifference.  It is a tragic story with the inevitable moments of pathos and heroism.  The Westray story concerns an event that in all good common sense ought not to have occurred.  It did occur and that is our unfortunate legacy.  It is in fact our unfortunate tragedy.

There are ways to stop this.  There are ways to stop criminal murder by corporations of their workers.  That is what our bill will seek to address and that is what the motion seeks to address.  There are ways it can be done by amending the Criminal Code.

In that report Justice Richard pointed out those ways.  He suggested that there be a new criminal offence that would impose criminal liability on directors or others responsible for failing to ensure their corporation maintains an appropriate standard of occupational health and safety in the workplace, a criminal offence of corporate killing.

Justice Richard said "in the context of Westray these deserve consideration".  They deserve more than consideration; they demand action.  Recommendation No. 73 states that the Government of Canada through the Department of Justice should institute a study of the accountability of corporate executives and directors for the wrongful or negligent acts of corporations and should introduce in the Parliament of Canada such amendments to legislation as are necessary to ensure that corporate executives and directors are held accountable for workplace safety...

[boldface emphasis added]






Yukon Legislature, Whitehorse
Hansard, 1999 April 28
     http://www.hansard.gov.yk.ca/29-legislature/session1/159_apr_28_1999.html


Mr. Cable:
Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the Yukon Liberal caucus to pay respect to all workers killed or injured on the job.  More than 1,000 Canadian workers are killed on the job every year, and to put that in perspective, by the time this House comes together tomorrow at 1:30, more than two workers could have been killed on the job, at that rate.  Thousands more will die as a result of exposure to toxic substances in their workplace; thousands more are permanently disabled; and many more are off the job temporarily because of workplace injuries.  The public is aware of some deaths in the workplace, such as occurred in the Yellowknife Giant Mine, and at the Westray coal mine a few years ago.  Most workplace deaths escape public notice.  We must remember those workers and pay respect to their families.  We must also realize that there are many who have been injured or disabled and are left to suffer in silence.  We must remember the sacrifice that others have made in order to provide for their families.  We must also fight for the living by seeking to prevent workplace deaths, illnesses and injuries.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[boldface emphasis added]






Prince Edward Island Legislature, Charlottetown
Hansard, 1999 May 4,   page 2126
     http://www.gov.pe.ca/leg/hansard/1999spring/1999-05-04-hansard.pdf


Robert Morrissey (Tignish-DeBlois, Liberal):
Mr. Speaker,...I want to put before the House Mr. Minister, possibly if the Opposition in Newfoundland had questioned more the Sprung greenhouse deal.  Possibly if the Opposition in New Brunswick had...

Jim Bagnall (Montague-Kilmuir, PC):
Question?

Robert Morrissey:
...questioned the Bricklyn deal when it was going through.  Mr. Speaker, but most importantly...

Jim Bagnall:
Does he have a question?

Robert Morrissey:
...if the Opposition in Nova Scotia had questioned...(UPROAR)

An Honourable Member:
Relax!

Robert Morrissey:
...the Westray mine deal Mr. Speaker...

Jim Bagnall:
(INDISTINCT) another speech, Mr. Speaker.

Robert Morrissey:
...because see, the government of the day defended the same projects based on jobs Mr. Speaker. (UPROAR) And if the Opposition had of been doing their work (UPROAR) possibly those failures wouldn't be around...

[boldface emphasis added]






House of Commons, Ottawa
Hansard, 1999 November 15,   1735 (5:35pm)
     http://www.parl.gc.ca/36/2/parlbus/chambus/house/debates/020_1999-11-15/han020_1735-e.htm


Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, Reform):
Mr. Speaker...
One might say I have coal dust in my veins since it was the coal mines that brought my grandfather to Canada.  Without coal I would not be standing before the House today.  It is amazing how one can step back into history through people who are not long gone.

My grandfather was born in 1866 and by 1880, at the age of 14, he was working in a coal mine in Scotland.  Later he operated a coal mine in China until the Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the century.  He was on the docks in Shanghai when Europeans were being killed.

After returning to Scotland from China my grandfather, James, along with his two brothers, Ninian and Tom, came to North America to work in the coal mines of West Virginia.  The three brothers continued to work together and moved to British Columbia where they worked in the coal mines.  My grandfather worked at the Coal Creek mine near Fernie, British Columbia.

On May 22, 1902, there were 128 miners killed in the Coal Creek disaster.  My grandfather was on the rescue team after this mine disaster and this traumatising event certainly affected him for the rest of his days.

I grew up in the coal mining town of Natal close to the B.C.-Alberta border in the Rocky Mountains adjacent to the slag piles and the coke ovens, adjacent to what was then the Trans-Canada Highway that went through the Crow's Nest Pass.  It has since been moved from Crow's Nest to Rogers Pass...

I understand the strong emotional attachments and the strong affinity to the coal mining industry expressed by the people of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia.  I have been to Glace Bay, Sydney, Pictou County, the site of the Westray mine and the memorial.  We cannot just wash this all away.  Coal is in their veins...

[boldface emphasis added]






Newfoundland Legislature, St. John's
Hansard, 1999 December 2
     http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/hansard/ga44session1/99-12-02.htm


Mr. Harris, MLA for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi:
Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Premier, concerning the vital question of safety in the offshore.  The death of Shawn Hatcher of Burgeo last April on the Nordic Apollo was investigated by the Nova Scotia Department of Labor who wanted to prosecute for violation of safety regulations but could not because the jurisdiction of the Atlantic Accord is in the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, who have a policy of no prosecution, even in fatalities, and operate with draft regulations...

Mr. Speaker, there are two issues here.  One, as determined by the Westray inquiry, the agency which licences a project ought not to have the responsibility for safety of projects as well.  That was one of their conclusions.

The second issue is this: Will this government support the position taken by the Nova Scotia government in a letter to Prime Minister Chrétien on November 25 in which they say, based on their legal advice, that the provisions of the Atlantic Accord undermine their ability to provide an enforceable regulatory regime comparable to that found both in the Canada Labour Code and the provincial level for other industries.  They are expressing grave concerns about the ability to have an enforceable regime in the offshore of Nova Scotia.  Does this also apply to Newfoundland?...

[boldface emphasis added]






Newfoundland Legislature, St. John's
Hansard, 1999 December 7
     http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/hansard/ga44session1/99-12-07.htm


Second reading: An Act To Amend
The Financial Administration Act
(Bill 34)


Mr. Harris, MLA for Signal Hill - Quidi Vidi:
...Recognized well for our interest and concern with the issues that affect people in this Province.  One of those very important issues is before us for debate this afternoon in the form of an Act To Amend The Occupational Health And Safety Act.  Mr. Speaker, there are few things that this Legislature does in terms of passing legislation that are as important as what we do to ensure that the working men and women of this Province are protected from injury and death in their place of employment.  We have had a history of reasonably good legislation in this Province in the last number of years.  Where we fall down in many respects is in enforcement of that legislation.  We can have very good laws, but if they are not enforced or if in certain circumstances we do not have the capability of enforcing them then they are not very much good expect on paper...

What we see now is a government that falls back on the fact that in the end they have the right to withdraw a license to operate, close down a business, remove a license to operate for an operator in the offshore.  As has been said by the Minister of Mines and Energy the other day, that at the end of the day they had the power to take away the right of an employer to operate in our offshore.  The practice, unfortunately, in terms of regulating industries, has been recognized by very competent authority to be problematic when the same group or individual is both regulating the operation of the industry, licensing and permitting an industry, and also regulating safety.  Mr. Justice Richard in the Westray Inquiry in Nova Scotia, for example, stated in his report on the death of twenty-six miners in Westray that there was a conflict of interest for the ministry of natural resources in Nova Scotia to both be responsible for licensing and permitting the industry and also responsible for safe mines.  That is the situation we have in our offshore today.  The C-NOPB in this Province and the C-NSOPB in Nova Scotia both operate under the same system that operated in the pre-Westray era in Nova Scotia, where the regulation of the industry and safety responsibility rests with the same body.  In fact, it has not gone unnoticed that last week when I raised questions about the possibility of problems in our own offshore regulatory regime with respect to safety, it was not the minister responsible for occupational health and safety in the Province, the minister who just spoke, who responded; it was the Minister of Mines and Energy.  The Minister of Mines and Energy talked about how safe our offshore is, not the minister responsible for occupational health and safety...

What we have done in this Province is duplicated the situation pre-Westray in Nova Scotia, where the department of government responsible for offshore promotion, offshore regulation, offshore development, is also responsible, through the C-NOPB, for liaising on issues of occupational health and safety...

The point is that the regime that operates onshore, with IOC in Labrador City, with North Atlantic Petroleum at Come By Chance, with businesses in St. John's, with Abitibi in Grand Falls and Stephenville, with heavy industry, light industry, construction and every other form of enterprise in this Province, makes these subject to the penalties for contravention of the act or regulations of occupational health and safety, subject to conviction and fine and imprisonment for violating them.  Why does that same regime not obtain in the offshore of this Province?  We had not heard the answer to that question.  I'm going to continue to ask that question until we do have the same protection for our offshore oil and gas workers as we have for people in the Province working in every other industry.  They come neither under the Canada Labour Code occupational health and safety rules nor under the Newfoundland and Labrador Occupational Health and Safety Act, and that is wrong.  They are an industry like any other.  They may have differences from other industries in some respects, but like any other industry they ought to be subject to the requirement of following occupational health and safety regulations and legislation, or be subject to the penalties of law as are set out in this act.

We must recognize that is why we have these inquires, such as the Westray inquiry.  That is why we had the Ocean Ranger inquiry.  We have these inquiries in order to determine what it is we are doing wrong that we could right, and what it is we are doing that we could improve to make possible occupation health and safety regimes that are going to better protect workers.  When we read, specifically from Mr. Justice Richard in Nova Scotia at the Westray Inquiry, that there is a conflict of interest between the same entity regulating the industry and responsible for the safety of mines, in the case of Westray, and the ministry of natural resources in Nova Scotia...

Mr. Speaker, that would be why we have inquiries.  Why we have inquiries is so hopefully we will learn something from them.  When Justice Richard in Nova Scotia in the Westray Inquiry says it is a conflict of interest, he said the concerns that were raised ought to be fixed, and that they played a contributing role in the Westray disaster that cost twenty-six lives, including the life of a young Newfoundlander.  The lack of rules and regulations in the Nova Scotia offshore, which contributed to the death of another young Newfoundlander, Shawn Hatcher of Burgeo, ought not to be in vain.  If, as a result of the issues being raised surrounding these instances, that it can result in the change in our offshore oil safety regime to the extent that is required, then they will not have died in vain...

[boldface emphasis added]






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