Breaking: Peter Kiewit and Sons ULC, two former managers charged with criminal negligence in the death of Sam Fitzpatrick

It’s been a long time coming  and this week ends on a high note.

Today, charges of Criminal Negligence causing the death of Sam Fitzpatrick, contrary to s.220(b) of the Criminal Code, were sworn today on Vancouver Provincial Court against Gerald KARJALA, Timothy RULE, and Pieter Kiewit Sons ULC ( dba Peter Kiewit Sons co.)

A first appearance is scheduled for the corporate defendent, Peter Kiewit, July 17th at 2pm in Vancouver Provincial Court.

Warrants have been issued for the accused individuals and sources indicate to me that both individuals have been or are currently located in the US.

Bethany Lindsay of CBC has a full report up on this here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sam-fitzpatrick-workplace-death-criminal-negligence-charges-1.5157579

“Unprecedented criminal negligence charges have been filed against a major construction company and two of its managers in the 2009 death of Sam Fitzpatrick on a B.C. worksite.

Peter Kiewit Sons Co., Timothy Rule and Gerald Karjala are all named in an indictment sworn Friday morning and provided to CBC News.

Fitzpatrick was 24 years old when he was crushed by a falling boulder on a Kiewit hydroelectric construction project on the Central Coast on Feb. 22, 2009. His younger brother, Arlen, was watching when it happened.

Fitzpatrick’s family and friends, along with the United Steelworkers union, have spent the last decade fighting for accountability in the tragedy.

Family friend Mike Pearson described news of charges as bittersweet but very welcome.

“It’s an example of the system working. The justice system has been heavily criticized in the last little while, and this is an example, so far, of it working the way it’s supposed to and people taking a stand and being brave and standing up for what’s right,” Pearson told CBC.

This, has been a long time coming. I met Mike and Brian long ago in their journey to this day and this has been one of the most compelling stories I have worked on and it led to an examination of many other projects Kiewit has worked on here in BC, ( https://lailayuile.com/tag/kiewit/ )

I for one, will have a bittersweet weekend on this one but it sets precedent in BC and Canada for all workers who have been hurt or died on the job doing something they shouldn’t have been doing. It also brings to mind the sawmill explosion in BC, where conditions were known to be unsafe yet workers continued to work.

Kiewit has a long history of getting the contracts over and over again in BC, despite a number of issues that have plagued them here and in the US. https://lailayuile.com/2014/12/19/kiewit-general-comitted-willful-and-serious-safety-violations-in-washington-state-accident-fined-150000/

I’ll add more shortly. And sorry for the extended absence but there are only so many hours in a day 🙂

 

33 Comments on “Breaking: Peter Kiewit and Sons ULC, two former managers charged with criminal negligence in the death of Sam Fitzpatrick

  1. I was just hopping over to your blogsite to ask how you were doing and hope you were coming in with another good moving story, and here it is. This is moving and sad. I hope justice will come in full. While i am here i think the BC Liberals or the responsible ones at least need moreof a good ripping for the damage done to the WCB Act and workers financially.
    Shirley Bond was one of those last Ministers before the election, that wanted to still take away more and more money from the injured workers fund and screw them around even more, for their corporate employer lobbying buddies. And wheres Johnny boy and the Jobs Minister on this. MIA ?? They crabbed about it before the election, but now. Nothing. The PTSD thing is good, but where is the concern about the mass destruction caused in general by those shameful politicians in charge of that under the Liberals. But where’s John ?? Will they fix things ??

    • I’ll have much to say soon but the sunny weather and endless chores are keeping me busy 🙂

      Will they say much? I dont know because this was all brought to them while in opposition and nothing happened.

      This is literally history making news and no comment from our labour minister. But hey, Kiewit is in the running for more jobs in BC right? 🙄

  2. Reminded of person who fell out of ventilation in Burnaby and died and I think. Nothing happened

    • Wcb is not in the business of ensuring workers are taken care of OR … ensuring it doesnt happen to anyone else.

      I will be personally contacting the minister in this regard..

      • I would like to know how he will react if asked, will he to do the right thing, by reversing the damage to the WCB Act and reinstate the all the proper coverages and things that were in place for injured workers that the BC Liberals took away over their tenure. Those immoral people did so much damage to the Act that was fought for by so many courageous people ages ago. The Liberals would be continuing that destruction right now, if they were still in power.

  3. “no comment from our labour minister’
    Wait for the age old dodge “it’s before the courts.”

    Good to see you BTW.

    • You too. 🙂

      Focused on the bigger picture of what matters…people over politics 😉

  4. It depends whose in office and who they know. when Harcourt and Glen Clark were Premiers, the NDP politicians knew a lot more labour people. During that time they re focused the WCB by changing how appeals were processed. They hired a youngish lawyer, Connie Munro, to head up the appeals divisions, who in turned hired progressive, labour focused hearing officers. She eventually went on to head the WCB after Kenneth Dye left.

    The good voters of B.C. decided to vote B.C. Lieberal. That people died on the job and there were no repercussions doesn’t surprise me. but it is what the voters/workers of this province wanted. they must have, they kept voting B.C. Lieberals.

    this case clearly demonstrates the need for labour unions every where. they frequently are the only ones with the money and determination to fight these types of cases.

    People keep working in dangerous conditions because the laws don’t protect them. its that simple. Some federal workers have more protection. If you work in a dangerous situation, you can withdraw to a “safe place” until a determination is made. I don’t know if provincial workers have that. If they don’t they ought to.

    I remember this case well and am thrilled to see something has come of it and the Steelworkers did their job.

    My take on why the WCB hasn’t been “over hauled” yet, is there is not the influence of labour within the NDP that there once was. Its all well and good to want labour out of politics, but if they’re not there, neither is their money nor their skills and expertise. Right now about the only one who really is doing his job full out, is Eby, and he can’t be expected to do more. the minister of health is working hard, as is Judy Darcy, but a lot of them, aren’t worth much, in my opinion. They just don’t have the skill set or the knowledge.

    Horgan would be wise to reach into the labour movement to have them look at the WCB. Employers had their kick at the can for 16 years. He could also go out and find Connie Munro. she has the knowledge and she is the lawyer who the Vancouver Fire Fighters hired back in the day to get the ruling regarding cancer and their working conditions.

    One of the problems with the WCB system, is you have to decide to accept their settlement or go the court system, but you can’t do both. Its why many families just take the money. that needs to change. the current system works really well for corporations but the families of the dead do not receive the justice their loved ones are entitled to.

    Thank you for letting us know. Lets hope this case brings changes to working conditions and the system.

  5. One of the sad legacies of the Campbell liberals was worker safety.

    it seems where safety benefited friends and insiders (like those who own flagging companies), overall safety has decline.

    What is a real scandal is how many children who are currently being used as cheap labour are getting hurt on the job.

    The entire Campbell/Photo-op/Liberal era in BC is nothing more than a massive scandal.

    • The biggest mistake being made right now is limiting the public inquiry to money laundering. Super disappointing Dogwood, after championing a corruption inquiry and specifically mentioning contracts and donations etc, suddenly lauded the money laundering inquiry without continuing to push for a full Charbonneau style commission.

      Why?

      I wrote this 7 years ago. I have been calling for a corruption inquiry for even longer specifically based on what is known about some of the public projects in BC. To not explore these aspects when some of the people who were involved are still working for or consulting to the ministries is a travesty.

      https://www.google.ca/amp/s/lailayuile.com/2012/06/19/money-and-corruption-are-ruining-the-land/amp/

      • Also,someone asked if I am on Twitter again, and the answer is no. I’m not on Twitter which has deteriorated into a toxic cesspool of partisan bickering that achieves nothing other than who posted the best comeback🙄

        • I have no urge to go back. But I do miss so many good peeps that I used to speak with. People who shared their stories and challenges. And even some annoying peeps..lol.

        • I disagree that it’s where twits go. It’s an effective platform for sharing info and engaging with others and those who use it arent all twits.

          Like anything, its Twitter HQ that has allowed it to become an increasingly toxic forum for those with less honourable intentions. I don’t keep a public Facebook page for the same reason.

          People like Integrity BC and excellent reporters rely on Twitter for sharing important stories as I did. None of those people are twits…

      • https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48231558

        “How gangs used Vancouver’s real estate market to launder $5bn”

        In everyone’s interest Canada’s media has been exceptionally helpful and in so doing kept their readers busy checking the latest reports on Crime..

        Small wonder it worked. During the rapid expansion of organized crime gangs, while three levels of government played lobotomized ostrich, our media faithfully reported gang wars, drug busts, drug overdose deaths, and innocent bystanders shot in cross fires.

        Finally press reports from people like Sam Cooper detailed massive money laundering done in plain sight at casinos and in real estate. An effort which helped citizens understand why access to housing became ridiculously expensive.

        Exceptionally fine public service for sure, and dangerous to boot.

        However when it was time to find anyone willing to explain how this mess could be cleaned up the press fell back to one basic argument.

        The BBC report above put it this way.

        “Catching money-launderers in the act is incredibly difficult” 

        Following this flow the usual excuses.

        “Catching money-launderers in the act is incredibly difficult, according to a report written by retired lawyer Kevin Comeau and published by a Canadian think tank, the CD Howe Institute.”

        “They often rely on a hodgepodge of lawyers, shell corporations and intermediaries to be the “face” of their illegal transactions.”

        “In the real estate industry, this means criminal organisations may invest in a development property, paying construction bills in cash, or even loan themselves a mortgage through a shell corporation.”

        “Others buy rental properties, especially low-income, cash-based rooming houses, and over-declare their rental profits to the government.”

        “Often, they have a relative or even a stranger purchase the property, when really they are the financial beneficiary. These various schemes are difficult to trace on their own. When they are combined, they form what Comeau has called the “money laundering rabbit hole”.

        The bottom line?.

        “Even if they are caught, Canada is a rule of law country that believes in due process and rehabilitation. A criminal on trial in Canada will be treated much better than they would in the People’s Republic of China, for example.”

        “Vancouver is especially attractive because it is a multicultural city with several ethnic communities, which makes doing international business much easier.”

        “German notes that El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel, mainland Chinese gang the Big Circle Boys, and Iranian gangs with footholds in both Dubai and the Persian diaspora in North America all have deep ties in the city of Vancouver.”

        ===========================

        In short: Too bad General Public. Big Crime is just too complicated for any bureaucracy to cope with. All Hope Abandon.

        End of story. Unless you’re the Dutch Government and sufficiently fed up that you are willing to start banning gangs..

        https://www.dw.com/en/hells-angels-biker-gangs-banned-by-netherlands-court/a-48963889

        “Hells Angels biker gangs banned by Netherlands court”

        “Judges in the Netherlands said the biker gang was led by “a culture of violence” and represented a danger to the public. It is the third biker gang to be banned in the country since 2017.”

        ===========================

        https://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/ny-hells-angels-netherlands-court-banned-20190530-eowtkbgjp5awlaeldnz7muh4qq-story.html

        “Hells Angels have been banned in the Netherlands”

        “The Hells Angels are officially an outlaw motorcycle club.”

        “A Netherlands court has banned the entire organization due to violence “often so serious and causes so much social unrest that it can be considered in contravention of social order,” according to a BBC report.”

        “While the Dutch judge in the central city of Ulrecht made specific mention of the Hells Angels Holland, the ban reportedly applies to the organization worldwide. While courts have ruled against specific Hells Angels chapters, this is reportedly the first time a country has ruled against the organization as a whole.”

        ===========================

        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/29/hells-angels-banned-by-dutch-court-in-strike-against-biker-gangs

        ===========================

        Yes, tiny Holland, world famous for land reclamation, positioning bulwarks to halt North Sea floods from inundating their nation. Famous for its health care system. Infamous for not prosecuting people who smoke marijuana or hire prostitutes, decided to act..

        https://www.ft.com/content/f9d61f58-d78c-11e8-ab8e-6be0dcf18713

        You write

        “The biggest mistake being made right now is limiting the public inquiry to money laundering. Super disappointing Dogwood, after championing a corruption inquiry and specifically mentioning contracts and donations etc, suddenly lauded the money laundering inquiry without continuing to push for a full Charbonneau style commission.”

        Until Holland made that momentous decision, yes a full “Charbonneau style commission” might have seemed a nice, if shallow, bureaucratic solution.

        Now after Holland’s example? Since Organized Crime is clearly the problem the time to continue foot-dragging and pretending there’s no possible solution is past and gone.

        How can the Dutch ban on gangs be implemented? Why would Canada’s legal authorities not ask the Dutch?

        Please advise…

        • The out of date overly tolerant justice system that is the hallmark of Canadian justice. So people are educated to fit that, when they become justice officials and judges and lawyers etc. It’s so easy for a case to fall apart especially high profile ones like the big one that fell apart here in BC that made big news and made us all mad along with David Eby. Too much corruption in high places that causes cases maybe to get stayed. Too much politics i guess doesn’t help. I don’t know the whole answer, but it’s a dam shame for such a great nation such as ours that isn’t being protected enough because of what i would call, An unbelievable continuance of weak leadership. It’s like no one wants to start rocking the boat, so they would rather it slowly sink. Reckless endangerment or what. They are useless. Completely useless, because of what what they have learned and have been programmed to do. Robots to the system from education too the job. Just a thought, but sure enjoyed reading your comment.

        • Authorities here ( at least within the feds on the govt side ) wouldnt ever try ‘banning’ gangs. Why?

          For the money laundering drug side from Asia we currently have had exposed thoroughly by Sam Cooper and others, one would have to go back to the complete and systematic destruction and discrediting of the Sidewinder report as I detailed here :

          https://lailayuile.com/2012/04/12/playing-with-the-dragon-who-is-looking-after-canadian-interests-while-china-outwits-our-governments/

          Even under the current incarnation of the LPC, the same power brokers behind the vacant but marketable face of Trudeau have shown they wont push too hard on certain files. Banning Asian gangs? Banning organized crime? Ha. Tell me why politicians of that era, and CSIS,faced with evidence and a full report that detailed pretty much everything we see now, decided to discredit that report,quash the RCMPS efforts and go after the people who wrote it?
          Had the government of the time actually acted on that report which detailed the heavy investment of drug funds into Van real estate over 20 years ago, maybe BC wouldnt be in the position it is now, which was bolstered and abetted by the BC Liberal govt.

          Now. With respect to corruption in BC, it started out as a call for a corruption inquiry based on things reported in the press AND things known to individuals that had not and have not been reported by the press. The government focused entirely on money laundering and affordability- not a ‘wrong’ move but many of us pushed hard for a full inquiry that’s not limited like the current inquiry scope is. Why?

          Because focusing on very specific terms with a limited scope into money laundering only, will not address the systematic failures that are allowing corruption in other venues and forms and ministries within the BC government and public projects to be examined and stopped. Look at the connections Integrity BC just detailed on parties in the legislature and a certain former gang hangout down island.

          Banning gangs is great.

          But… Show me where the manpower exists to research which gangs are running which companies being subcontracted under larger companies on public projects.

          Which gangs or companies are running cartels dictating who can bid on what in public projects?

          Show me where and why no one followed up on the corruption in construction report done by the feds?

          Why it is companies like Kiewit kept the bid for the Port Mann bridge AFTER they failed to secure financing and the govt just picked them to build it even though it should have been put back out to tender?

          I know it’s not ‘sexy’ corruption..but its corruption. And it’s not fixed and it will continue. And some unions deny this shit like crazy. Its like the port. How do you think all this stuff gets into the country at a unionized dock? 🙄 How does it get through security? The borders? Hmmm?

          Oh wait. We arent allowed to talk about THAT kind of corruption.

          Oh this happened today too. SNC lavalin seo ‘abruptly’stepping down and going back to the UK. Hmmm. Gee why would he suddenly want to leave the country?

          If I were on the SNC case I’d be watching for others to follow suit in government as well. People suddenly quitting posts. Or announcing they wont run for re-election. Because this particular file is big and deep.

          https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/snc-lavalin-ceo-neil-bruce-retiring-1.5170371

          Nope. No corruption here. 🙄

  6. Well i wonder how safety and material quality, quality control, and the use of tax money in the picture is coming along at Site C. Considering SNC Lavalin has been involved and ohhh yes. The Keiwit Clan. The passing of the baton seemed so easy between Christy and Johnny. Such an affair between politicians. It’s all sooo luvy. I hope the dam thing holds.

  7. “It’s an example of the system working.” The incident happened in 2009, now it is 2019. 10 years have elapsed. Obviously the system is not working.

    • I have to agree there. And in my opinion they dont feel culpable because they appealed the wcb decision and managed to get the tribunal to knock down the penalty.

      And…this only happened because his family and friends and others refused to let it go and worked hard to get to where we are today.

      Kiewit has a long and public history of safety infractions, worker injuries and deaths here and in the US. Most I have mentioned here in one post or another under the Kiewit tag or Peter Kiewit tag. Their claims that they have the utmost regard for safety standards can be easily challenged on many if not most projects.

  8. speaking of trying to look good, have a look over at RossK’s blog, The Pacific Gazetteer. he covers George Abbott’s in his new re constituted self. he’s written a PhD dissertation, all about his years with the B.C. Lieberconthugocrats. So Abbott spent years being part of a government which inflicted untolled misery on the disabled and children in this province. Now he’s written a dissertation about it. Guess he needs a job and this is his application, perhaps to the Fraser Institute, etc. Interesting read.

  9. speaking of “ugly Canadians”, was over at Crooks and Liars. They are reporting on a Vancouver, B.C. based company and their desire to mine uranium in Virginia. Crooks and Liars quote Reuters:

    The largest-known U.S. uranium deposit will remain firmly underground after the American Supreme Court on Monday upheld Virginia’s ban on mining and the radioactive metal, rebuffing a challenge backed by Trump’s administration to the 1982 moratorium.

    The company, seeking to exploit the deposit, contested Virginia’s power to enact the ban, saying the policy should have been pre-empted by federal law governing nuclear energy. Virginia Uranium is a subsidiary of Vancouver, B.C. based Virginia Energy Resources…….
    The Trump administration had backed the company’s challenge to Virginia’s law.

    • There are quite a few Canadian mining corporations that have terrible records overseas with respect to environmental infractions and human rights for workers. This is quite the story though for something closer to home!!

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