winters-burton-220

Burton Winters near his home on the northern coast of Labrador. (submitted)

The family of a boy who died on sea ice off the coast of Labrador last winter says a meeting with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale has been cancelled because she doesn't want a former coast guard search and rescue official to attend it.

Burton Winters' body was recovered near his hometown of Makkovik on Feb. 1. He was reported missing to police four days earlier.

In a letter emailed to CBC Wednesday, the family said it wants Clarence Peddle, a former search and rescue co-ordinator with the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in St. John's, to be present at a meeting with Dunderdale.

"The focus of this meeting was Burton, inherent to that focus was to get answers to questions [about the search] that have, too long, gone unanswered," they wrote.

The family said Dunderdale's office called them to say she did not want Peddle to attend the meeting.

"The premier's final position was that she would not attend the meeting," they wrote in a letter signed by Burton Winters family members Charlotte Winters Fost, Rodney Jacque and Natalie Jacque.

"But [the premier] said that along with Mr. Peddle, we could meet with Kevin O'Brien, Minister of Municipal Affairs. We are unsure of the logic as to why it is acceptable to bring Mr. Peddle to a meeting with Mr. O'Brien but not to a meeting with Premier Dunderdale."

The family said they had hoped to bring a clear message directly to Dunderdale.

"The family of Burton Winters and indeed probably every Newfoundlander and Labradorian knows that the obvious and only government decision to this tragedy is to call an inquiry. That is what we wished to explain and request directly to the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, in both a personal and informed manner," they wrote.

The family also said it isn't giving up.

"It is regrettable that this opportunity has now been denied to us and that the meeting with  Premier Dunderdale will not take place. Undaunted, we remain resolute, and we will continue to raise these issues in the public domain," they wrote.

The meeting was originally scheduled for Friday, May 11.