Manitoba

Winnipeg Transit tells drivers not to memorialize slain colleague on 2nd anniversary of killing

Two years after Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser was killed on the job, transit managers have instructed operators not to memorialize their slain colleague. The head of the union representing the drivers called the decision "petty."

Irvine Jubal Fraser was killed on the job on Valentine's Day 2017

Winnipeg Transit buses displayed rest in peace signs in 2017 in honour of the funeral for slain operator Irvine Jubal Fraser, whose badge number was 521. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Two years after Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser was killed on the job, transit managers have instructed operators not to memorialize their slain colleague.

Fraser, 58, was killed on the University of Manitoba campus on Valentine's Day in 2017. Brian Thomas, 24, was convicted two weeks ago of second-degree murder in the killing.​

Following Fraser's death, Winnipeg Transit drivers displayed "rest in peace" banners on their buses, along with Fraser's badge number, 521. They also displayed these memorials when a funeral and a memorial were held for their slain colleagues.

Winnipeg Transit operators were instructed not display the memorial two years after Fraser's death. (Submitted by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505)

On the second anniversary of his death, transit managers asked operators "do not use the R.I.P. badge 521 today. It was decided that this message would not be displayed this year."​

The union representing transit workers says it's dumbfounded.

"It is petty, as far as I'm concerned. It's very petty. It's a kick when somebody's down. It's not the right thing to do at this time. We thought they'd do a lot better at taking care of this, since we have a gone through a lot," said Aleem Chaudhary, president of rhe Amalgamated Transit Union local 1505.

Chaudhary says it's especially strange considering the trial of Fraser's killer wrapped up only two weeks ago, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau referred to the anniversary in Winnipeg on Tuesday.

A note instructing drivers not to memorialize Fraser. (Submitted by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505)
"Jubal, or Superman to his colleagues, was always helping others, a true example of how each and every one of us can make a real difference," Trudeau said during an appearance at the Fort Rouge transit garage.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman says the city already has a day to commemorate workers who die on the job.

"We do have an annual day of mourning in which we pay our respects to many individuals who've lost their lives in the line of duty and in the service of citizens," Bowman said at city hall, referring to April 28. 

Winnipeg Transit said in a statement it notified the union the rest in peace messages would not be displayed this year.

Chaudhary says he only learned of the decision early Thursday. Some drivers defied the directive and displayed a banner despite the city's direction.

Two years after Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser was killed on the job, transit managers have instructed operators not to memorialize their slain colleague. 1:30