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This article was published 7/5/2018 (626 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A grieving father whose son died January in an industrial accident at a Manitoba Hydro construction site near Gillam bitterly rejected condolences Monday from Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen.
Barry Swan said he wants answers on how his son, 22-year-old Todd Maytwayashing, died — and his family isn’t getting any. Nor was the family impressed by offers in the house by Premier Brian Pallister to help, Swan said at the Manitoba legislature.
"You have to talk to us, if you’re sincere," Swan said. "What I want is for you to speak out for the rest of the workers in the province — I’m begging you ... It’s your job, minister," to protect Manitoba’s workers.
"Who enforces safety in the province? Who’s supposed to?"
Swan told Pedersen he was appalled Pallister had said in question period earlier Monday afternoon that Maytwayashing’s death was not a political issue. "I believe it has to be a political issue to get the truth out," Swan said.
Swan said Pallister came to his house April 16, but no one has followed up.
Maytwayashing was employed by a contractor working at Hydro’s Keeyask Generating Station megaproject. He was killed by a falling piece of steel Jan. 17.
The family has not heard from Manitoba Hydro, Swan said.
Pedersen insisted he is sincere. ‘We will look into it, I will talk to my deputy minister," the minister said, also repeating he cannot speak out while there is an ongoing investigation by Workplace Safety and Health.
In the house, New Democrat MLA Tom Lindsey and Liberal counterpart Jon Gerrard berated the province and Manitoba Hydro for having allegedly not taken any action or investigated whether Maytwayashing’s employer had any responsibility in his death which reportedly occurred while steel was being loaded onto a semi-trailer.
They claimed the fatal accident site may have been altered before the team of investigators arrived, but offered no proof. The opposition MLAs also claimed in question period there is bullying at remote work sites in Manitoba.
"This is political opportunism at its worst," Pallister responded. He accused both Lindsey and Gerrard of using the death for political purposes, and said the opposition MLAs were going on the attack without having any information to back up their charges.
If they can help the workplace safety and health investigation in any way, they should do so, the premier said.
Pallister said "I am not pleased" with the lack of a timely response the family has been receiving. "I will endeavour and undertake on behalf of the family, to get answers for them, if they so desire."
Swan said all the family wants is answers, while in turn could help to protect other workers.
Manitoba Hydro said late Monday it has contacted the family.
"We extend our sympathy to Mr. Swan. Manitoba Hydro staff reached out to Mr. Swan several weeks ago to express our condolences. We understand he and his family are grieving. Our staff continue to communicate with Forbes Brothers, who Todd worked for and who have been in contact with the family," said Hydro media relations officer Bruce Owen.