Sawmill explosions get no public inquiry, says Christy Clark

Friends, family members and workers at two B.C. sawmills are at the legislature today, to push for a public inquiry into the sawmill explosions that killed four people two years ago.

Families, friends of the victims and workers are in Victoria to press demands for one

Families of killed workers push for inquiry, premier says no 2:30

B.C. Premier Christy Clark says her government does not intend on holding a public inquiry into two sawmill explosions  that killed four people in 2012.

Friends, family members and workers from the Babine sawmill in Burns Lake and the Lakeland sawmill in Prince George are at the legislature today, to press their demands for a public inquiry.

The group is being hosted by the NDP, which brought their concerns to question period Thursday morning.

NDP Leader Adrian Dix looked up at the visitors in the public gallery as he urged the premier to grant their request.

"Will she return to Burns Lake as she has been invited to," Dix asked, "meet with the families and explain to them why justice denied doesn't deserve a public inquiry."

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Justice decided against laying charges in the Burns Lake fire, citing problems with the WorkSafeBC investigation.

It is still deciding if it will lay charges in the Lakeland Mill fire in Prince George.

Clark says no to public inquiry

Clark says she appointed her deputy minister to investigate WorkSafeBC's handling of the investigation. Lawyer Len Doust is charged with helping implement that investigation's many recommendations.

"We accepted all his recommendations and we sought a legal opinion from one of the most respected lawyers in our province about whether there should be a public inquiry," Clark said.

"He concluded the results of a public inquiry would not render us any different answers than the ones we have now."

Clark says the government is now focused on fixing the problems that exist at WorkSafeBC to make sure "this never happens again." 

She says her government has required WorkSafeBC to make immediate changes, and more are being implemented and monitored by the special adviser.

"We must get on with this urgently, said Clark. "This is a problem that cannot be repeated because we must ensure that the central value of worker safety is one that we honour."

On Wednesday, a WorkSafeBC report said 42 per cent of B.C. sawmills inspected over the last three months had unsafe levels of dust.