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OTTAWA - The Canadian Union of Public Employees, the country’s largest union with 460,000 members, has written to Premier Russell MacLellan demanding a public inquiry into the Nova Scotia government’s refusal to prosecute top managers of the Westray Mine.

“Shame on you for this utterly unjust decision,” Colin Lambert, National Director of Health and Safety, says in a letter to MacLellan. “… It is now obvious that the Crown never intended to see any of the Westray officials held responsible for their actions.”

Lambert said all workers across Canada are now threatened. “This astounding decision sends a powerful signal to corporate Canada that they are not answerable to the laws of Canada - laws that govern how citizens should act in a civilized society. If 26 men can be killed in such grossly negligent circumstances, without any accountability, then it is clearly open season on workers everywhere.”

Lambert said the actions of the Nova Scotia government dramatically illustrate the need for the federal government to amend the Criminal Code to create a new section dealing with “corporate killing”.

“Judge Richard recognized such a need in Recommendation 73 of his Westray Inquiry Report. The Nova Scotia government has supposedly accepted every recommendation in this report. If they are serious, they should be lobbying the federal government to change the Criminal Code.”

Lambert said workers must now cling to the slender hope that public outrage will convince the Nova Scotia government to reverse its decision. “If not, the federal government must intervene to do something to correct this gross miscarriage of justice.”.


For Further Information:

Colin Lambert, National Health and Safety Director, clambert@cupe.ca (613) 237-1590

Robert Wells, Atlantic Health and Safety Representative Halifax, (902) 455-4180