This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Overreacting to heinous acts is what the terrorists want.

This week’s topic:

Does the massacre in Paris justify further expansion of spy powers in Canada?

In the days since the terrorist attack in Paris, I’m concerned about how this is all unfolding as I look at the response from the public and those like myself who are paid to share our opinions. One expects a visceral reaction to such a barbaric attack, in particular because those killed were simply doing what they loved.

The thought of being murdered is perhaps the worst fear for many who share provocative commentary or satire that offends others, and support for those walking at the edge of our right to freedom of speech and expression is part of what spawned the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie. There is a world of debate in this issue alone, perhaps for future Duels.

To some extent, one comes to expect the rhetoric that inevitably and sadly follows in reaction to such a heinous act, and is often used to promote everything from limiting immigration to enacting new anti-terrorism legislation. Fear is a powerful thing and it isn’t only terrorists who use it to manipulate and dominate. Look around the world and it’s easy to see that fear has been something world leaders have often used to affirm involvement in wars, limit freedoms, and pass questionable laws or policies.

Read Brent Stafford’s columnhere.

In response to the attack in Paris, Canadian political leaders rightly denounced the actions and Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to expedite and bring in new anti-terror legislation. Yet even as his promises remained fresh and stark in the implication that what legislation we currently have isn’t enough to keep us safe, two brothers from Ottawa were arrested Friday on terrorism-related charges…

Read the rest of this weeks column, comment and vote at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2015/01/11/duel-dont-overreact-to-terrorists

Posted in 24 hours Vancouver The Duel | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Things that make you go “Hmmmmm…”; Or who is gauging support for former premier Gordon Campbell in Vancouver telephone polling?

It’s interesting what pops up out of the blue sometimes.

For example,Thursday morning I posted a story about Harper visiting Annacis  Island to facebook. That post prompted the memory of a friend living in Vancouver, who left a comment that she had just received a call from a company conducting polling. (It’s been a hectic week so I’m just catching up now)

The poll was political in nature,initially asking what she thought of the Stephen Harper government, which isn’t surprising considering some are speculating an early federal election is in the offing.

However,what was more interesting is that she was also asked to respond to a list of names- this is paraphrased from her memory:

I will name 5 people, and you are to tell me if you find them trustworthy” 
Campbell takes oath

Most of the names she did not recognize, but one definitely stood out : former BC premier,Gordon Campbell.

She said that she did not find him trustworthy,and it left a bad taste in her mouth.

The call came from 604-681-0381, which belongs to NRG Research Group http://nrgresearchgroup.com/, which of course, has done work with the federal government, and the Prime Ministers office:

NRG

Which of course led to much speculation,and horror by some online that we may indeed see his return to the political scene back home here in Canada, instead of racking up the bills in London… as Canada’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

Is a senate appointment in the offing? Perhaps a run for MP?

If you’ve received a similar call, I’d be very curious to see what other names are being tossed out there, so drop me a line via the contact page! And a good tip is to keep a pad of paper and a pen by your phone to jot down the questions you are being asked.

Posted in BC Liberals, BC Politics, Laila Yuile | Tagged , , | 37 Comments

This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Cops too eager to shoot.

Happy New Year and welcome to the first column of 2015!

This week’s topic: Does law enforcement rely too heavily on the use of deadly force?

Peter de Groot. Du Na Phuong. Naverone Woods. These three men were killed during police interactions during the last months of 2014. In each encounter, officers drew their guns and fired, and in each case criticisms and questions remain if lethal force was necessary.

The concerns relating to the use of lethal force by law enforcement are not unique to B.C., but are multi-jurisdictional across Canada and the U.S. In fairness, in Canada the vast majority of police interactions end peacefully. This is little consolation to the families and friends of people who have been killed by officers. They are people who, in some cases, exhibited signs of mental distress or erratic behaviour. Robert Dziekanski, Ian Bush and Greg Matters are just a few high-profile cases you may remember.

Knowing several current and former members of different law enforcement agencies – most who have never used their guns in all their years of service – shooting or killing someone is not something any officer envisions happening. This doesn’t and shouldn’t preclude examination when use of deadly force results in a fatality.

Preventing any death at the hands of an officer, in particular when dealing with people in mental distress, is something the Toronto Police took action on following the shooting death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim on a streetcar in 2013. One officer was charged with second-degree murder, and the police chief called for an independent review of the use of lethal force by officers. In July 2014, former Supreme Court judge Frank Iacobucci released what has been referred to as a landmark report, presenting page upon page of recommendations to prevent the shooting of people in crisis.

Read Brent Stafford’s column here.

This report makes it clear that this is not only an issue of police culture and training – it is a failure of our entire system…

 

READ the rest of this weeks column, comment and vote here: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2015/01/04/duel-cops-too-eager-to-shoot

***You can read both the Executive Summary and the entire Independent Review of the Toronto Police Service here: http://www.tpsreview.ca/ for a full look at 80 recommendations made to improve outcomes. A very compelling read.

Posted in 24 hours Vancouver The Duel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

BC Government releases Chief Inspectors 2013 Annual Report on New Years Eve, to Lego Movie soundtrack hit “Everything is Awesome!”

Yes it is true, the annual report was released at 12:01 pm, on December 31st, 2014. ( No they didn’t actually release it to the Lego movie soundtrack, but since everything is awesome it’s rather fitting )

http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/12/information-bulletin.html

The full report is here: http://www.empr.gov.bc.ca/Mining/HealthandSafety/CI/Documents/2013_CI_Rpt.pdf

But here is a very brief synopsis of his 2013 findings:

Oh… and if you were wondering about Mt. Polley…

“…Because this report covers results from 2013, the information contained herein will not address the tailings dam failure that occurred at the Mount Polley mine on August 4, 2014. As of December 2014, three separate investigations into this incident are ongoing;once they are available, the results of these investigations will be released to the public. The incident will also be addressed in the next edition of the Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Mines, which will cover 2014 activities.”

You may now resume your regularly scheduled programming… until perhaps December 31st, 2015 which is when one may assume the next report will be released. What I find really remarkable is that in spite of 14 inspections being performed in 2013, that the Mt.Polley breach still happened in early 2014. 14 inspections. More than double than some operations. And yet still the unthinkable happened. Wrap your head around that for a bit, why don’t you? ( A tip of the hat to R., a regular commenter who is keeping a close eye on these items!)

Posted in BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, Laila Yuile, The Environment | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

A look back at 2014 through my lens.

Why venture out of this province,when we have so much to explore right on our doorstep? Here’s a look back at 2014 travels,moments and community. – most of which can be found within an hour of Vancouver. Enjoy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Laila Yuile | 7 Comments

Hurry in, 2015, so we can have another chance to get it right!

For me,I will remember 2014 most for being the year I wished more than a few times, that I could magically go back to being one of those blissfully unknowing people who go about their lives paying no attention to anything other than just that.

Seriously.

There have been a number of stories this year that have touched me on certain levels and left me emotionally tanked or overjoyed. Discovering the extent of the situation on 135A street, the absolute extreme poverty of the people who call those sidewalks home – not all victims of their own bad choices or addicts – left me going back often, thinking futilely there has to be a better way. But why can’t we find it?

2014-10-19 006Meeting Erin Schulte and her group of incredible volunteers who persevered in feeding and taking care of these very same people in the face of continual opposition was an incredible experience. And while their story was the most public,because of them I discovered there are many others who have been doing the same thing for years, no fan-fare, no recognition and none asked for. They simply chose to care, and I applaud them all.

No one can overlook the fine work of David Dalley and the Friends of the Grove, who carry2014-11-01 017 on like soldiers of peace and compassion, endlessly fighting what seems to be a never-ending battle in the heart of Newton. Metaphorically speaking, their efforts are representative of the battle between light and dark, good and evil – and they need as much support as they can get. Their work to transform this family oriented area will be an essential part of the bigger plan for the Newton core, if the city ever gets fully on board, because they are the heart of this community. Created in 2009 with intensive public input, it is the greatest hope of this community to see Festival Street and the rest of the Newton Town Centre plan become reality – those with vision can see an eclectic shopping,entertainment area,with a park and gatherings… the Commercial Drive for those south of the Fraser.

prayer stick 1Some of the defining images for me this year, are those from Mt.Polley. It was the year all of us in British Columbia saw how life can be changed forever in the blink of an eye when the walls came down at Mt.Polley mine. In an instant an entire area, ecosystems and lives were irrevocably altered and why? Even now, there are still more questions than answers as to why millions of tonnes of toxic sludge came cascading down creeks and forests into two beautiful lakes that provided sustenance, recreation and an entire tourism industry for locals.

credit to Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp , posted publicly to Facebook at this link: https://www.facebook.com/yuctnesenxiymetkwecamp/posts/362499900580420

credit to Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp , posted publicly to Facebook at this link: https://www.facebook.com/yuctnesenxiymetkwecamp/posts/362499900580420

The breach was an utter failure of process and regulation.

The actions of the government following the breach, were appalling, reminiscent of scenes from the movie Erin Brockovich.

There is zero credibility and zero trust, and more than a little uneasiness when it comes to thinking about other tailings ponds- or dams for that matter-because there has even been criticism when it comes to the inspection and reporting process they instigated to ensure this wasn’t about to happen somewhere else. 

This is just one example of why sometimes I wish I was one of those blissfully unaware and un-engaged people, just going about their business, not paying attention to what’s going on in the world.

It’s easier, and far less stressful, albeit not very conducive to creating change in the world. Which is part of why we continue to be where we are, instead of where many want us to be.

You can look at, research, examine and learn from history… but unless you apply what you have learned, you go nowhere.

We continue to wage wars, right or wrong. We continue to ignore our homeless.We bring food to homes of those suffering from illnesses like cancer or grieving, but ostracize and marginalize those suffering from addiction or mental illness.

It’s frustrating,often feels insurmountable and ineffective to continually see story after story written of government obfuscation and wrong-doing that for all intents and purposes, continue…aided and abetted by voter malaise and a fear of what change will bring. As is often said, many truly believe that the devil you know,is better than the devil you don’t.

foiAs for myself, I spent much of last night going through a backlog of emails and when I went through all the FOI’s submitted, the stack of non-responsive,redacted or otherwise useless results far outweighs the FOI’s that gleaned any good info at all.

And what is worrisome is that many writers are finding it harder to even file Freedom of Information requests, or in the case of the federal government, Access to Information requests.  Damned if you do, or damned if you don’t.

Where does that leave us? In a situation where governments are able to conduct their business with little examination and criticism – and that’s not good for anyone.

My wish for 2015 is very much the same as it is every year.

That the public at large become more engaged and aware of the power of their vote. That we come out of our technologically aided shells and become involved in our communities. That we realize that while there is a portion of the population that may very well be beyond saving because of their own demons, that we must continue to try to help those who are invisible to many: children in foster care, children living in poverty, our seniors, our disabled and our homeless.

They are our past, and our future. Sometimes there is only one chance to get it right. Many have learned the hard way while watching others, that it can too happen in your own backyard – and who will fight for you then? Don’t be a bystander.Be involved.

Despite the ups and downs, the sad stories that break your heart and the ones where everything right and good prevails, the journey continues to tell as many as we can – I’m very honoured that you are all a part of this small blog. As much as being unaware might be blissful to some, being engaged to make change is the only way to go.

Because in the words of author J.R.R Tolkien:

“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

Happy New Years and may you strive not for perfection in 2015, but to simply be better, and do better, than the year before!

Posted in Laila Yuile | 22 Comments

Hiraeth, the word with no easy translation

2014-11-30 006There I was, sitting late in the evening taking care of some (admittedly) very late Christmas cards, when it hit me – the expected feeling of homesickness that nevertheless slams me every year in the most unexpected manner. Arriving with the force of an easterly wind, the feeling of longing was so strong it nearly took my breath. I put down my pen, closed my eyes and for several minutes simply lived in the moment of that achy feeling.

It’s hard to explain to someone who’s lived in the same place their entire lives, but those of you who’ve moved from where you’ve grownup will likely understand. It’s as though a part of me still exists in the northern interior where I grew up, and sometimes that part calls me home so strongly it’s nearly impossible to resist and kind of painful. For me it feels like more than just homesickness,and remarkably after sharing this with friends on facebook, one of them posted this:

“Maybe the word you need is Hiraeth: It’s Welsh for the yearning, the nostalgia, or the grief for the lost places of your past.”

Yes. Hiraeth. This is exactly it. It is a yearning for the Christmas’s and winters of my childhood, for everything that was good and magical about those memories. The many nights spent outside watching northern lights in snowbanks created when my father shoveled off the roof – a spectrum of moving,living prismatic colours dancing across the sky as though accompanied by a symphony.

I long for the many wonders of snow in all its incarnations. Soft and yet crisp in the extreme cold, that Styrofoam sensation of really dense snow is so fun beneath the feet, or tossed up in a cold handful into the light of the sun to watch a thousand sparkling crystals fall to the ground. Did you know snow even has a smell?

Christmas trees didn’t come from Ikea but from the forest after a snowmobile ride into the back forty with a sled pulled behind. My dad would knock the snow off of what seemed like hundreds of tree’s at the urging of my mother – cursing the snow that fell down his collar- until at long last he would simply declare: “THIS is the tree!” and we would laugh and go home.

The smell of wood smoke from a fire burning at the hearth…or perhaps the resinous scent of evergreen boughs decorating the stair rails, it’s always the nearly undefinable moments that bring forth this feeling. It’s a blur of scent and sounds, feelings of happiness and emotions full of love from the past and present combined. And it passes,always, but while it lasts the feeling of separation is strong, inconsolable and not without a bit of melancholic nostalgia.

While my home is now here on the coast, I embrace and respect this longing as a sign of how much of me is still very much a part of where and how I grew up, a connection to something bigger and more important. I love the past, but enjoy greatly the present and look forward to the future.

The yearning for Christmas past mingle with the joy and discovery of Christmas new. Old values, new traditions. Change is inevitable but good. Sometimes home isn’t a place,but the people you are with and happiness is found with those you love, be it friends or family. 

To my friends and readers, I hope you find gratitude for the blessings in your life this Christmas, are free from hunger, have a warm roof over your heads and kindness in your heart. There is so much more that brings us together, than keeps us apart.

In the wise words of Roy L. Smith:

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”

Merry Christmas!

** In the New Year, I’ll have that new update on a story done earlier this year on Liberal cronyism gone wrong – very wrong. (In fact,it’s a bit sickening) In addition to our first Duel of 2015. I’ll also be doing some work on the blog,so don’t be surprised if you see it down for a day or two, and updating the 100+ Reasons the Liberals Need to Go – please feel free to add new concrete examples to the comments section with a link if you can!

Posted in Laila Yuile | 24 Comments

This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Site C- Case hasn’t been made.

This week’s topic: Did the provincial government make the right decision approving the Site C dam?

I agree with Brent that British Columbia does have a real opportunity in front of it right now, but it has nothing to do with energy. The controversial and confusing decision to approve the Site C dam on the Peace River provides ample opportunities to examine and highlight just how this government operates when it comes to projects of immense proportion.

Contrary to what some might think, I’m not “anti-everything.” I stand firmly in support of responsible development and when multi-billion-dollar projects are proposed, it’s critical to ensure proper process and independent examination of the proposal have occurred. It’s not in the best interests of the province or taxpayers to charge ahead without being absolutely sure this project is justified and costed correctly.

Sadly, in the case of Site C, that hasn’t occurred and there are serious concerns surrounding the justification and the cost of the project. Over the last couple of years, the premier has presented an ever-changing litany of reasons why Site C is needed.

It started off on the books as a project for B.C.’s power use, but for much of her time in office, Premier Christy Clark has billed Site C as essential to power the various LNG project proposals – we know that’s incorrect, since any plants would most likely be operated on power produced in a natural gas-fueled power plant. Then, during the final day of the public hearings in front of the Joint Review Panel, BC Hydro said the power from Site C would be perfect for export to California.

Read Brent Stafford’s column here.

However, in the announcement last week, Clark said this dam will provide future generations with good clean power for a century. Who’s right? It’s easy to see where the concern is with so many conflicting justifications for a project that the government exempted from an independent review by the BC Utilities Commission…

READ the rest of this week’s column, comment and vote at: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/12/21/site-c-case-hasnt-been-made

Posted in 24 hours Vancouver The Duel, BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, LNG/fracking, The Environment | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

Real Canadian Superstore once again in the spotlight after denying customers redemption of points

I’m really starting to wonder what kind of a company Loblaws is after a recent experience where I and other customers were told we could not redeem our points on the PC plus card. Time for another grocery shopping rant.

Groceries unloaded, I hand my points card to the cashier, and tell her I’ll be redeeming 30,000 points, which equates to $30 off. She told me that if I wanted to use this weeks coupon to receive 25,000 points, I couldn’t redeem them. Knowing the coupon states the purchase must be over $250 AFTER all coupons and redemption’s, I told her the order would definitely be over that with Christmas shopping, so it would be fine.

She tells me, no, that even if you are over, you cant redeem any points or you wont get the new points. In other words, if I wanted to redeem the points I already have, I would have to forgo the coupon bonus points! I wasn’t about to argue with her, and thought perhaps she simply misunderstood the coupon, so I asked her to call a supervisor or manager, which she did.

This is the coupon, and the policy.

superstore flyer

 

superstoreexplanation

 

 

 

It’s very clear on the coupon what the policy is. In fact, a customer must redeem a minimum of 20,000 points AND have a purchase of  $250 after that redemption( plus any other coupons ) to get the new points. Both of which I met.
In waiting for the manager, another woman said she had been told the same thing, and not allowed to redeem any points on her purchase because she wanted the extra points. This might not seem like a big deal,but if you are working on a budget and you are counting on a $30 reduction on your bill, it matters at the till.

The manager shows up, and I explain what the cashier told me, and that it’s clearly incorrect,and show her the coupon. I expected her to agree and tell the cashier  it’s fine, but she looks at the coupon, looks at me, and says: “Oh it doesn’t matter what the coupon says, it’s not working like that.”

I ask her why, and she says it’s misprinted and that you cant redeem any points to get the new ones. Then she tells me that other customers have tried it and they don’t get the points.
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this, and I believed it the first time and chose to get more points instead of redeeming current ones, but this time I wanted to find out what was going on.

I showed her the wording – and she clearly read it herself- and then she was silent. There was another cashier with her who was looking nervous. I told her that if the store was denying customers their redemption’s-which would add up to a significant amount at this time of the year- that was really unethical.

The cashier beside the supervisor then blurted out:  ” They told us to say that to everyone, no matter what.” Her face was red. I felt so bad for her.

The supervisor looked at me and said..”Oh,look, the coupon does say that, I guess they re-worded it. Let me go call upstairs” So off she went, and made a call upstairs.

Then she called the cashier and said “Go ahead and redeem the points.”

So, I got the $30 off the bill, and the new points showed on the bill of course.

There was no computer glitch. There was no mistaken understanding.

The cashiers had been told to tell every customer who wanted to use the new points coupon for over $250 they couldn’t redeem any points at all to use it, in direct contradiction to the coupon itself that says you MUST redeem points. When someone decides to redeem anyways with a purchase over $250, believing what they are told, the store wins because no coupon is used, and therefore no points are paid to the customer.

At 25,000 per customer order over $250, the store saves $25.00 every time a customer falls for this.

I spoke with her after, privately and she said it wasn’t her direction to do that, but from higher up. She didn’t know if they were doing it at other stores, or just this particular store. I called the next day to speak to the store manager, but apparently he was very very busy all day.  He also happens to be the fellow I found taking off the dollar daze stickers before the sale was over…

What really bothered me more than the unethical direction, was that the store would put their front line workers, those amazing cashiers, in a position like this. It’s just not right – it’s not their fault.

I’d like to hear if anyone else has had this issue in other stores, or if it’s just this one rogue store where the spirit of the Grinch lives on at Christmas.

http://lailayuile.com/2014/12/05/whos-the-scrooge-at-real-canadian-superstore/

http://lailayuile.com/2014/12/11/update79-comments-and-zero-response-from-loblaws-on-about-to-expire-product-discount-rollback-at-real-canadian-superstores-across-canada/

And it seems Loblaws is under scrutiny for its pricing practices with suppliers as well. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/supplier-squeeze-loblaw-in-the-spotlight-over-pricing-practices/article22168960/

Posted in Laila Yuile | Tagged , | 26 Comments

Kiewit-General “committed willful and serious safety violations” in Washington state accident, fined $150,000

I noticed some interesting and heavy activity yesterday on my blog, from a US source using Level 3 Communications out of Maryland, U.S. – a company that interestingly enough, was spun off from Kiewit Diversified Group, a subsidiary of Peter Kiewit and Sons. The interest was very specifically focused on the posts I’ve written that involve or feature Kiewits work in BC, and most recently on the issues with the retaining walls along the Sea to Sky Highway. 

This prompted a bit of digging around since often traffic like that can lead to a story or a related story. And sure enough,something popped up.


“The contractor building a new 520 floating bridge is accused of willfully putting the lives of workers in danger by ignoring safety warnings related to cranes being used on the project.

Kiewit-General will receive a fine of more than $150,000 for willful and serious safety violations stemming from an accident at the site in Aberdeen where pontoons for the floating bridge are being constructed, according to a source with knowledge of the incident, which led to an investigation by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

On June 21, 2014, a 13,000-pound concrete counterweight being lifted off a construction crane fell to the ground, narrowly missing two workers. Five workers were on the crane at the time, and could have been seriously injured or killed if the crane had collapsed, according to the source.

KIRO Radio has viewed video of the incident, during which the man filming seems to have anticipated an accident of some kind.

“And that’s why I was filming,” he said.

The video was sent to L & I, which led to an investigation.

State inspectors found that a steel hook attached to the top of the counterweight, which is used to lift it, broke free from the concrete and steel frame it was cast in.

The accident led to serious revelations about Kiewit, including accusations that the company knew for nearly 10 years that the steel hooks could be faulty, but failed to take action.

The hook in question, called a lifting eye, was the subject of a manufacturer’s bulletin in 2005 and again in 2011. The bulletin indicated that the steel lifting eyes could fail and should be inspected. If irregularities were found, the manufacturer provided a set of guidelines that companies should follow to fix the lifting eyes.

Kiewit, before it joined with General on the 520 bridge project, owned several tower cranes that used the questionable lifting eyes. Instead of repairing the lifting eyes as the manufacturer recommended, Kiewit attempted its own repairs or, in some cases, didn’t attempt any repairs, the L & I investigation found, according to the source.

The source said Kiewit had, on multiple occasions, disassembled and then re-erected tower cranes in Washington state without replacing potentially faulty lifting eyes when they had the chance.

As a result, Kiewit-General, as a joint venture, will receive willful violations for failing to follow recommendations from the crane equipment manufacturer, failing to address the hazard, and putting employees in direct danger of a tower crane collapse. The company also received serious violations for using a worker that wasn’t qualified to oversee crane disassembly at the Aberdeen site, and for allowing that worker to develop procedures they were not qualified to develop.”

 

Read the rest of this story,listen to audio and video features showing footage of the crane accident HERE: http://mynorthwest.com/11/2670486/Investigation-520-bridge-contractor-put-workers-in-danger-of-crane-collapse

This particular bridge project has been plagued with issues, which I covered here after Dave White of News1130 broke the story in BC- this is a *must read* refresher:

http://lailayuile.com/2012/11/10/port-mann-bridge-builder-kiewit-faces-construction-concerns-in-the-u-s/

Of course, all this talk about bridges,crane collapses and safety violations brought me back to the very big crane mishap that happened on the Port Mann Bridge during construction. http://lailayuile.com/2012/11/10/port-mann-bridge-builder-kiewit-faces-construction-concerns-in-the-u-s/

I did a bit of research but couldn’t find any reports detailing the results of the Worksafe BC investigation into that accident, and after going through the archives on the Worksafe BC newsroom site, I called their media room to ask what the findings were or if they were released.

I was told they were not available and that I would have to file an FOI ( Freedom of Information request) to find out. I asked if it were possible to simply find out if any fines or infractions were issued without details, and again, told to file an FOI. (This has already been done by a source and the results will be shared. )

One would think the results of a WorkSafe BC investigation into a very public accident on a public project would not be a private or personal matter.  It is possible to report the findings without naming individuals.

***Update 2pm Dec 19/2014 :

From our dear friend NVG ( virtual fist bump here)  in the comments below, a link to a story from The Sun where it mentions the reason Worksafe BC might not even have anything to FOI – they allowed Kiewit/Flatiron to do their own investigaton. Shocking excerpt :

“What made the gantry collapse? Al Johnson, Work-SafeBC’s regional director in charge of regulating construction, said the two companies that designed and built the bridge, Kiewit and Flatiron, were best able to answer that question.

“Sometimes we do our own investigation, but in this particular incident our officers felt that (the companies) had the engineering expertise – and they brought engineers in that knew specifically about the truss,” Johnson said. “So we were satisfied that they had the right engineers on the job to evaluate what occurred, what went wrong, and how to prevent that … from happening again.”

WorkSafeBC met with the companies on Nov. 7 after their investigation was finished.

“They were using the truss in what they call an ‘unconventional’ way,” Johnson said. “In this cantilevered position, the truss is sitting on two short front legs and two larger back legs.”

When the 90-tonne segment was moved out to the end of the cantilever, the front supporting legs began to bend.

“It would be sort of like if you had a table with very simple legs, like a card table, and you had short legs on one side and longer legs on the other side, and you started to push it forward,” Johnson said. “The front legs collapsed.

“Their engineering design hadn’t given consideration to all the different factors of using it that way.”

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=43dfc7e5-e701-49d6-8ea4-a8d60ae6fd1e

Kiewit has a long history of being one of the contractors favoured by the BC Liberal government, along with SNC Lavalin and Macquarie, but one with a questionable track record.

Their safety record was detailed at length in this excellent piece by Tom Sandborn in the Tyee last year: http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/04/08/Kiewit-Record/

The ministry of Transportation has yet to respond to the questions asked in this post: http://lailayuile.com/2014/11/27/sea-to-sky-retaining-wall-questions-continue-as-internal-emails-indicate-kiewit-inspected-their-own-work/

 

** In February 2014, BIV noted that Kiewit/Flatiron general partnership had filed suit with regards to the segment dropped into the river during the Port Mann bridge incident, alleging the defendents ” failed to “specify and deal with the risk that the main truss might slide during span-by-span erection of segments on a slope.” http://www.biv.com/article/2014/2/port-mann-bridge-contractor-files-suit-over-segmen/

 

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