The Ontario Liberal Party has used the Walkerton (tainted water) Tragedy to demonize former premier Mike Harris and, by extension, current PC leader Tim Hudak.
A good case in point is when Kathleen Wynne recently implied that Tim Hudak would cut the public sector workforce so deeply he would cause deaths in rural Ontario à la the 2000 Walkerton tragedy.
Now Wynne has her own tragedy for which she must account.
On May 31, 2013, two Ornge air ambulance pilots and two paramedics were killed in a helicopter crash near an airport in Moosonee. A court document obtained a day or two ago by CBC News alleges that several breaches of the Canada Labour Code contributed to the tragedy.
According to CBC News, Ornge allegedly permitted the pilots to fly the helicopter “without adequate training in the operation of that specific aircraft,” and failed to provide the pilots with “a means to enable them to maintain visual reference while operating at night.” The document also alleges that Donald Filliter, the 54-year-old captain of the helicopter’s crew, had “insufficient experience in night operations.”
Moreover, CBC News reports that officials at Ornge had been warned “by a safety officer at the base in Moosonee that the combination of inexperienced pilots and nighttime [sic] operations would likely result in a fatal accident.”
Damning stuff indeed.
So how much responsibility should Liberal Health Minister Deb Matthews bear for the helicopter crash? The Ontario Progressive Conservatives say, “some responsibility.” But what say the mainstream media?
Not much on their own. Oh, they do report what the PCs have said on the subject and the facts of the case, but they seem to have left the blaming of politicians to others. No holding of political toes to the fire here, that’s reserved for conservative politicians, or so it seems.
In contrast, when the Walkerton story broke, the accountability line was quickly drawn by all and sundry in the mainstream media directly to the then premier Mike Harris’s office.
The fault for Walkerton was clearly that of local operators—two received jail terms—but Mike Harris was roundly condemned “for not regulating water quality and not enforcing the guidelines that had been in place.” [Wikipedia]
So why haven’t Health Minister Deb Matthews and Premier Wynne been harassed and harangued about their responsibility for this avoidable tragedy that cost four people their lives?
A double standard? You bet!