TORONTO, July 30, 2013 /CNW/ - Premier Kathleen Wynne has callously
rejected an appeal from Ontario's largest mining union to discuss a
long-overdue inquiry into mine safety, waiting two months to even
acknowledge the request.
"Premier Wynne appears unfazed by the fact that our mining communities
have suffered scores of deaths and thousands of injuries since the
government last examined mine safety in this province," said Marty
Warren, United Steelworkers' (USW) Ontario Director.
"We hoped the new premier would take this issue more seriously than her
predecessor, but that is not the case," Warren said.
"It's disgraceful that the Premier has no interest in discussing the
pleas of the grieving families and co-workers of deceased miners, who
know only too well that a mine safety inquiry in Ontario is long
overdue," said Rick Bertrand, President of USW Local 6500, representing
2,600 mine workers in Sudbury.
Bertrand and Warren sent a joint request to Wynne on May 16, asking to
meet with the premier to make the case for a mine safety inquiry. Wynne
waited more than two months to respond, sending a letter dated July 24
that rejects a meeting and refers the matter back to the labour
"It has been more than 30 years since a provincial commission examined
mine safety in Ontario," Bertrand noted. "Given the toll of deaths and
injuries and the dramatic changes in this industry over the last three
decades, it defies belief that Kathleen Wynne and her government are
opposed to this long-overdue inquiry."
Thousands of Ontarians, primarily in northern mining communities, have
signed on to a campaign calling for a provincial inquiry into mining
health and safety.
The campaign was launched last year following an unprecedented USW
investigation into the deaths of two Sudbury miners working for global
mining giant Vale.
The USW investigation concluded the miners' deaths were preventable. The
deaths could have been avoided if the province had implemented a
coroner's mine-safety recommendations made 15 years earlier, the union
"Premier Wynne must recognize that too many miners have been killed and
injured at work," said Warren. "We will continue to press the Liberal
government do the right thing and call an inquiry."
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792, 519-504-9099
Rick Bertrand, USW Local 6500 President, 705-675-3381, 705-521-3412
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org