Since we announced that aviation safety advocate Kirsten Stevens was stepping down for health reasons, many people wrote tributes reflecting on Kirsten's contribution and wishing her well. The following are excerpts from just a few of these.
Every fatal plane crash is a tragedy worthy of public scrutiny. But there was something about the crash of a commercial float plane off Saturna Island one year ago today that would shake up industry and government where other crashes had not.
Maybe because a maternity doctor and her infant daughter were among the six passengers who perished when the Seair Seaplanes de Havilland Beaver plunged into the frigid waters of Lyall Harbour.
It was with great regret that we learned recently that one of Canada’s leading citizen advocates for aviation safety, Kirsten Stevens, is stepping down from this work indefinitely for health reasons.
Following the tragic death of her husband in a floatplane crash in 2005, Kirsten began meticulously researching the air taxi/floatplane industry in an effort to understand what happened and to achieve closure. What she learned – and the abject failure of the authorities to provide answers or even to fulfill their responsibilities – transformed her into a committed advocate for improved aviation safety.
Why is Transport Canada moving toward self-regulation for the country's airlines?
IN A SMALL BALLROOM at the Best Western Hotel near Vancouver's airport, Kirsten Stevens, a tattooed single mother of three, rises to take the podium, her hands trembling. Dressed casually in black cords and an emerald green shirt, the forty-two-year-old resident of Campbell River, BC, known as the Widow to many in attendance, stands out from the suit-clad presenters who preceded her. Petite-just five feet three and 115 pounds-with a barely tamed bob of cinnamon-coloured hair and brown eyes, she surveys the audience from behind stylish cat's-eye glasses.
CBC's flagship investigative reporting program examines the government's oversight of the industry and finds troubling problems at every turn: airport security rules flouted with impunity and inspectors' reports ignored; fatal crashes simply not investigated; pilots with appalling safety records allowed to continue flying; and employees terrified to blow the whistle on what they see going on, for fear of career-ending reprisals.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 11, 2009
During Question Period on April 23, the Honorable Rob Merrifield, Secretary of State for Transport, rejected the claims of the NDP Transport Critic, Dennis Bevington, that Canada is not meeting international standards for aviation safety. Perhaps Mr. Merrifield has been duped by bureaucrats in the same manner as the Canadian travelling public.
OTTAWA: Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) are failing in their duty to protect the safety of Canadians who travel by air and those who work in the industry and there must be a public investigation into how these agencies operate the NDP’s Transport Critic demanded today.
NDP Transport Critic Dennis Bevington made the call following a three hour round table discussion by aviation experts, he hosted.
Monday 30th March 2009.
Kirsten Stevens lost her husband in a floatplane crash in 2005. When the authorities failed to provide answers regarding what had gone wrong, she and the families of the other four victims embarked on their own investigation. What they learned shook their faith in the regulatory system and caused them to become vocal advocates for improved aviation safety. This is Kirsten's story in her own words. (41 minutes)