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)
My husband was a logger. He and went off to work one day to scale a few logs; caught a floatplane along with three other guys on the way into camp. He left at about ten o'clock in the morning and six o'clock that night I got a call telling me that the aeroplane was ‘missing’: it hadn’t turned up at either of the places that it was supposed to go. I didn't understand. How does an aeroplane just disappear? How could my husband and these four other men have just disappeared?
During the next couple days there was a large-scale search and rescue up and down the coast, along the flight area and outside the flight area. About two days later, my husband's body washed up on the shore of Quadra Island, which is only about a three-minute flight from where they took off in Campbell River. The autopsy showed that although he was wearing a floater coat he had drowned after suffering extensively from hypothermia: there was very little injury. The official search and rescue was shut down.
Recovering the aircraft
They didn't find the aircraft, and so the families of the still-missing men organized to continue the search and as a group we located the aircraft on the ocean floor. Five months to the day after the accident we raised the wreck, fully expecting to find the four missing men still on board. But they weren’t there. I came out of shock at that moment, because I had until that time been convinced that my husband had been alone on the water, and that he was the only one who had gotten out, and that it was inevitable.
But after seeing the wreckage and seeing that the other men were not on board, I realized it was quite different from what I had thought, and that things had gone wrong that shouldn’t have gone wrong. And the questions that I'd already had, about why it had taken so long to call Search And Rescue now became much more complicated.
Unfortunately because the wreckage itself – the magnesium parts which held the engine in place – had corroded over the five months and so the engine was left on the floor of the ocean. I should go back and I should say that it was the families who recovered the airplane – it wasn’t a government body, and as such, we did not know what we were doing and so no effort was made to ensure that the engine came up with the aircraft.
The response of the authorities
The Transportation Safety Board came and they took a cursory look at the wreckage and then they left. We fully expected that there would be some kind of full report, as we had been led to believe, explaining the problems that had resulted in the plane crashing. Unfortunately, because the TSB didn't look at the wreckage itself, without the engine, it turned out that they wrote a letter to the coroner simply outlining some very basic information. They had actually written a letter before the wreckage was recovered, and after it was recovered they altered it to include where the flight instruments were and nothing more. There was nothing about the prior condition of the aircraft. There was nothing about the lack of operational control. There was nothing about the delay in calling Search And Rescue.
The group of families was very disappointed in what we eventually discovered to be this letter to the coroner. So we held a meeting with the coroner and the RCMP and the TSB, and we requested that Transport Canada come as well, but they declined. We tried to point out some of the things that we had discovered ourselves through the course of searching for the aircraft. We had talked to a lot of witnesses: not just sound witnesses to the aircraft itself that morning, but also people who knew about the operation and knew things about the maintenance of the aircraft. We tried to bring these things to the attention of the Transportation Safety Board but they just didn't seem to be interested.
The coroner at that point asked me to write a letter which identified the things that we the families had found. So that was how my involvement began. I started to research the floatplane industry. More specifically I learned about a number of recommendations that had been made over the years that could have changed the outcome of this accident. I learned about reports and recommendations that Transport Canada had made themselves that could have changed the outcome and I started frequenting a web forum – an aviation-based web forum in Canada – to ask questions of people within the industry. I started making a lot of contacts in the industry and I started reaching out to people. I started talking to other accident victims, families of accident victims, and I started writing letters.
When our letters to the coroner didn't seem to have any effect on anybody (and we copied it to everybody – we copied it to the Transportation Safety Board and to Transport Canada), essentially all that really came out of it was that the Transportation Safety Board promised us a ten thousand dollars “reward”, if we were successful in recovering the engine.
Recovering the engine
We were all convinced that if we recovered the engine we might have some answers as to what had brought the plane down, so we spent a lot of money and a lot of time out on the water, and we got footage of the engine eight hundred and fifty feet down. So we got to an expert to come in and help us figure out how we could bring up the engine – what was going to be the best method of doing so. Worksafe BC and the Steelworkers Union both gave us some moneys towards recovering the engine and we ended up hiring the same company that we had used to recover the aircraft itself.
Unfortunately they spent three days out on the water and only located the engine once and then lost it. Ultimately they told us that it was buried in the mud, and it couldn’t be retrieved. They never did give us the footage and because of the film that we had of the engine on the bottom, we knew that it was sitting on a ledge and so if you approached it from one side it did look as if was buried but from the other side it wasn’t buried. So Kevin Decock, who had two brothers on board the aircraft, designed a special hook, and we bought an underwater camera with a 1,000 ft tether, attached his hook and the tether. He went out on the water and spent several months dragging the ocean floor, and one day he hooked the engine.
It sure seemed like a miracle and we sure thought that we were going to get some answers finally. We delivered the engine to the Transportation Safety Board and they did a good job of looking at it, and they could find no mode of failure within the engine and the propeller.
But because we had spoken to so many witnesses who had told us what they head heard that morning, we were convinced that there had been some kind of failure which had caused the need for an emergency landing, and so we ended up hiring a private professional forensic aviation investigative team.
We delivered the entire aircraft to them, and they came out with an interesting report which identified some things which we have been talking about already for three years, and making some recommendations. One of those recommendations was that the Transportation Safety Board needed to review its Occurrence Classification Policy. They have a classification policy when there is an accident or incident, where they determine what level of investigation they are going to go to, and there are number of things that come into play. It obviously includes how much they can actually learn from the accident. It includes the public's demand for answers, media attention etc.
TSB fails in its mandate
Well of course so many years had gone by, and the Mayerthorpe incident occurred the day after my husband's body was recovered. So although we been headline news right up until that time, the media completely lost interest in us. As a result the TSB had made a decision (before we had even recovered the aircraft) that this was going to be a Class-5 investigation, which basically means that it is just the statistical purposes and no in-depth investigation would be done. They didn't tell us and they didn't tell the coroner and they didn't tell the RCMP; so the coroner’s work was delayed while they were waiting for something that was never coming, and the RCMP's work was delayed while they were waiting for something that was never coming.
The Waldron report (the private firm that we had hired), their report identified that the TSB had really failed in their mandate of public safety in making a predetermination that nothing could be learned from this accident, when in fact they were many things there could have been learned from this accident – and many things that had already been recommended but not learned.
There wasn't a single safety letter sent to Transport Canada. There was a terrible lack of communication with the families themselves.
Safety Management Systems
So as I said, I started reaching out to people, and with all the information that I had gathered
I had learned about Bill C-7, an Act to Amend the Aeronautics Act. This is a bill that had been vicariously trying to make its way through Parliament through several sessions and through several party leaderships. The crux of it was the implementation of “safety management systems” throughout the industry. What I discovered was that from the view of the industry themselves safety management systems was a very dangerous concept. Although on the surface it appears to be a very good thing – that being that the company itself is responsible to be to be safe and it is responsible to come up with its plan of safety and how it is going to address safety problems.
But what it was really doing was giving the government a way to back out of oversight and to reduce its costs and its liability. There was a great deal of concern within the aviation industry, because there was already an identified problem with the oversight of small and remote operations. That had been identified in an accident in 1999 at Davis Inlet where a young co-pilot by the name of Damien Hancock was killed.
One of the recommendations that came out of that was that Transport Canada needed to review its oversight of small and remote operations. And they had done a number of things which on the surface appear to say that they had done this review, whereas in fact they hadn’t. In fact what they had done was simply to cover it up and to make it appear as though they'd made changes.
The real changes were simply a reduction of oversight and a mandate within Transport Canada itself that if a company has been approved to manage its own safety through safety management systems then they weren’t even going to be working through the enforcement of the regulations. People would be left to deal with it on their own.
And the system seemed to be protecting the company and not the workers, and this to me was a huge problem, especially when I was looking at my husband who was a worker in another industry, but whose life was dependent on the safe management of an aviation industry. The provincial government refused to investigate his death for Canada Labour Code infringements because it was a federal issue, and the TSB’s lack of an investigation into the accident had resulted in Transport Canada saying they didn't have enough information to do a Canada Labour Code investigation. All the puzzle pieces started fitting together for me.
A whistlebower’s experience
Through the process of reaching out to people I'd made contact with an ex Transport Canada inspector who had been involved with the TRINAT in which Canada, the United States and Mexico got together to compare accident causes and the root causes of those accidents. There seemed to be a really large number of accidents in Canada which had a root cause for which regulatory oversight was a contributing factor.
He had gone to his superiors and he tried to bring this to their attention and specifically this recommendation A-0101 which had come out of Davis Inlet for the review of small and remote operations oversight (I’m shivering). They shut him down and they closed ranks on him and they ostracised him, and eventually he was gone. I won’t go into the details of what happened to him, but it is not a pretty story, and it’s the story of what happens to whistleblowers.
Learning about the industry
Because of my involvement with this aviation website (this web forum where people discuss issues within the industry) and because of my vocalising what I was seeing as issues, and because people were becoming aware that I was trying to get the government's attention, and because I’m an untouchable – I don’t work in the system, my husband is already gone and they can’t hurt me any more – I started to be seen as somebody who could help and who could make a difference without losing my job.
People started coming to me and telling me about the problems that they were seeing on the job: about how pilots are overworked and how despite the Canada Labour Code having these rules for hours of work for all these other industries, here in aviation you could get away with changing the rules. There were special dispensations and pilots were flying over-tired and they [the operators] were getting away with all kind of things; and operators were getting them to push the weather, getting them to fly when they were too tired, in aircraft that had ‘snags’ (maintenance problems that the pilot had identified being something that needed to be addressed).
Small and remote operations
I discovered that especially within the small and remote operations this was a huge problem: because these people didn't have any access to unions and professional associations, which lobby for their protection.
This was also the place where pilots were getting their start. When a pilot gets his commercial licence it is very difficult to get a job and you need to have hours, and in order to build hours you either have to train new pilots – or you have to go and work out in the bush and work with these operators that Transport Canada wasn't effectively overseeing, and who didn't anyway have the money to maintain a safe operation.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing: this whole idea of somebody with no real world experience training new pilots – it horrified me. When your get your driver's license and you take a driving course: to be a driver’s ed teacher there are all kinds of criteria: you have to have been driving for so many years, you have to have no activity on your record that shows that you have been a problem driver, etc. None of these things reflected in the aviation industry. These are people who are not just driving on the road but they are flying passengers who were paying, and not just tourists and paying passengers but people who were working, and as workers ultimately had no legal recourse if somebody is negligent: because the Workers Compensation Act across the country precludes the ability to sue anybody who is covered by Workers Compensation. So, everything has become so stunning to me.
Aviation and other industries
I was speaking to the people from other industries. Safety management systems had already been driven introduced into the rail sector. Well look at what is happening in the rail sector now: huge, huge things have happened in the last few years since the implementation of safety management systems. They went off the rails. Accidents increased and there has been this recent safety review through the Transport Committee. Now they've come out with a new budget: in the budget there is special money for rail safety. But aviation has been ignored.
Aviation has been ignored because nobody is standing up yet. Within the rail sector, everybody is covered by lobbyists of some kind: unions and professional associations. Not so within the aviation industry and those who do whistle-blow – those who do try and do something about safety issues – become ostracised. There was a company that did stand up during the Standing Committee hearings on Bill C-7, the Act to Amend the Aeronautics Act. They stood up and said there are problems in the industry, and these are problems that we see, and safety management systems isn't going to fix these problems, and your reduction of oversight that is coming with this bill is going to make matters worse.
That company doesn't exist any more for a number of different reasons, but I don't have any question in my mind that people wondered and people started talking. Other businesses start talking. They talk to their customers, and they say things like “Oh, well, they are saying that nobody is safe out here” and “You don't want to be with them because they're saying things that, you know, they’re scary and it’s not true.” But it is true, and this new operator that might be saying these kinds of things may be just that operator that is doing the things that they warned about.
There were for instance back in the 1990’s the Transportation Safety Board did two safety studies, one which was a safety study of seaplane pilots and their skills, and one was a safety study of the survivability of seaplane accidents. Both of these came out with a number of recommendations which had to do with the training of seaplane pilots, had to do with the kind of places that they have to work and the kinds of differences, in terms of weather, etc. that they had to be far more aware of. They made recommendations to Transport Canada to try and offset some of these problems.
In the survivability study there were again a number of recommendations, one for instance being that floatplane passengers should always wear lifejackets. Indeed we can see that in our accident that that would have made a difference. Everybody escaped but all the lifejackets were still stowed and sealed inside the aircraft, and knowing that everybody escaped, had they had their lifejackets on when they escaped, the chances are that five men on the water calling for help would have been heard. There were people who heard the aircraft hit the water: there were people on shore, there were people on the water. There was a ferry that went by two minutes after the crash. So there were these recommendations that could have made a difference.
Lessons Lead to Questions
Then for the operation itself, the people in the industry who worked on the spit where this operation was also running were aware of problems with the operation. But they never reported it to Transport Canada. The reasons that they didn’t report were multi-fold, but mainly they were to do with the repercussions of reporting safety problems, in that, if an operator had reported, they would have been subjected to exactly the same kind of investigation that the subject of the information would have been subject to. And because the other operators on the spit wouldn’t have liked what was being said, and that gets back to customers. People talk and all of a sudden you’re not getting any business. So there were all kinds of reasons why people didn’t say anything.
Then the accident itself: whatever it was that caused the accident (at this point we’ll never know) – it’s pretty much been narrowed down that it was something within the fuel system, most likely, but because the fuel system came up with the fuselage 5 months later and then sat corroding until we delivered it to Waldrons another three years later, the information was just gone.
But we knew that there had been some maintenance issues with the aircraft and we knew that the aircraft had sunk very, very quickly. This was a float plane and we couldn’t understand how a floatplane could sink so quickly, especially when one of the floats was still almost completely intact. Although the aircraft had left at ten past ten that morning, and although the company itself was aware that it was missing within half an hour, it wasn’t until four hours after the crash that Search and Rescue was contacted. It was during that time that my husband finally succumbed.
There was a witness who heard calls for help three hours after the crash. He didn’t know what he was hearing: he thought maybe it was some kids playing down on the beach. He actually got out his telescope and went down to the beach to have a look and see if he could see anything. He heard the calls twice, fifteen minutes apart, and he ended up thinking “well it was some people playing out on the water and they’re gone now” and it wasn’t till the next morning that he heard on the news that there was an airplane missing in the area that he knew what it was he had heard.
So we had all these questions and they weren’t answered. We had no communication from the Transportation Safety Board to tell us what their process of investigation was going to be. The first time that we saw them was when we recovered the airplane, five months later: that was the first time any of us talked to them. We never heard from Transport Canada: they didn’t tell us what they would do or what part they might have. We thought “they’re the regulator – shouldn’t they be doing something?”
Going back to when I was talking about getting the call from my husband’s boss to tell me that the aircraft was missing: first of all it was four hours after Search and Rescue was called that I was notified that my husband and the aircraft were missing. In fact as I got off the phone with him it was being reported on the television news – I had the news on and it was being reported on the news. So he called me just in time, or I would have discovered it by watching the news, and what a horrible way that would have been to find out that my husband was missing.
When he told me that it was missing I said “what do you mean, it’s missing? How can a airplane just go missing?” In this day and age when we know where our cars are, where we can follow each other around with our cell-phones, how is it possible that an airplane just disappears? Aren’t they all tracked by radar or GPS or something?
I learned that only big aircraft are required to be tracked. Then there was the other question: aren’t they all equipped with these emergency locator beacons? Well yes, they are equipped with these emergency locator beacons. But unfortunately even the new 406 ELTs are subject to crash airworthiness, and most of them will not emit a signal after a crash. So unless the signal has gone off prior to the crash, then nobody’s going to hear it. And they have to be listening for it if they are to hear it.
And beyond that, they don’t work underwater. So float planes, which take off and land on the water, and for the most part are flying over the water, so if there’s an accident it’s going to be on the water, and in a very high percentage of floatplane accidents they flip, and so with the antenna submerged the ELT won’t go off. And although government aircraft and government helicopters are required to be equipped with underwater locator beacons, that do work underwater, not so with floatplanes. That didn’t make any sense to me.
So there you have “it’s not being tracked, so we don’t know where it is” – whereas the aircraft had crashed just three minutes after take-off, and was just on the other side of Quadra. They had been searching some thousands of kilometres up north to where the aircraft was flying and beyond, because who knows, maybe he had gotten lost and gone too far. They just had no idea where the aircraft was. So there was this huge area that was being searched, until my husband’s body turned up.
Then we had this other thing where, after the aircraft was recovered and we could see that there were all these maintenance issues. We could see that the floats were not in good condition prior to going into the water. And we couldn’t understand – when I was researching other floatplane accidents, there were so many of them that I found, where the people had survived because the airplane, although it had flipped, everybody had gotten out and had climbed up on top of the airplane and it had floated for hours to days. In our case, with the ferry going by just a few minutes later, if it had just floated for ten minutes it could have made a difference.
Then the idea when we pulled up the aircraft and found that the other guys were not inside: not only were they not inside, but there was no strain on the seatbelts, and all the lifejackets were still stowed. So it would seem that they knew that something was going to happen, they were prepared for it, and yet nobody had had a chance to get their lifejackets on, and this recommendation that the TSB had made years before, and Transport Canada had said “Oh no, we can’t do that”, for whatever their silly reasons might be. It would have made a difference.
Then the whole lack of calling Search and Rescue after being aware that the aircraft was missing. They were aware half an hour after the accident that it was missing, and not only were they aware but the people who were expecting them up at Knight’s Inlet kept calling back and saying “Where are they, where are they?”
There were two parts to the flight: my husband was going about ten minutes away, but it was known that that area was possibly fogged in, and so as a result what was probably going to happen – and indeed it appears that the seating arrangement would verify that this was the plan –was that they were going to fly up to Knight’s Inlet first, and then they would fly back down and the pilot would wait while my husband scaled the hour’s worth of logs that he needed to scale. Under any circumstances they were supposed to be back at 1 o’clock, so 2 o’clock was an hour after the aircraft was due to return, and the rules say that you are supposed to report an aircraft within an hour of the ETA [estimated time of arrival].
The only place that they actually knew what time it was supposed to be anywhere was to be back at 1 o’clock: they didn’t know what time it was supposed to be at either of the other places, so that 1 o’clock was their defence as to why Search and Rescue was not called until an hour after that. But the reality is that the standards, and indeed their own emergency plan which was built into their operations certificate said ‘one hour after being notified that a plane is overdue or missing’. They knew that the aircraft was missing within a half hour.
When it happened the dispatcher was alone in the office. We’ve been given information that she was never trained, and when we did access to information, any information that led back to any training that she might have received was excluded although we had specifically requested it. She was also the owner’s girl friend.
So you have this ‘stuff’ that’s going on. When the chief pilot and operations manager came back from his doctor’s appointment, about an hour after [the dispatcher] knew that it was missing, he said “Make the calls. I’ve got to go and get these clients up at Johnson’s Strait and I’m going to try to reach the pilot by radio”.
Well this brings us back to another point: which was that, although the rules say that the aircraft must be equipped with a radio for the purposes of flight following, there doesn’t actually have to be a radio for them to contact at a base for flight following. This company was operating without a radio at base, so that when she was trying to contact the pilot when she knew he was missing, she was trying to call him on his cell-phone and sat-phone, but not on his radio.
Now if the information had gone out on the radio, then other pilots in the area would have been aware that an aircraft was missing. It would also have gone out on the marine band, which meant that people on boats, who had heard the aircraft hit the water, would have been out there too. But because it didn’t go out on the radio until Search and Rescue was contacted that much time later, and because the operations manager said ‘make the calls’ but didn’t specify what calls he meant, and went off on a revenue flight – instead of staying at base where he should have been, considering that there was an airplane missing. There was another operator right next door with a radio they could have used.
There were so many things that could have been done differently so that my husband at least could have survived.
This is very hard for me. This past year in 2008, there were two seaplane crashes in BC in the same area where I live off the coast, and in both of those crashes they had their survivor. They had a number of fatalities, but in both of those crashes they had their survivor. That survivor makes a huge difference, because that survivor can say “yes, there was something wrong and we knew it was going to happen” or “no, it was a complete accident, we had no idea that it was going to happen”. That survivor forces everyone to pay attention, and to see that it was survivable.
I look at this recent helicopter crash off Newfoundland, the Sikorski, and again they have their survivor. They have this person who can help answer questions and focus people’s attention on the fact that this was survivable. And here we were: we had our survivor – my husband was our survivor – but we lost him. We lost him because these people did not do their jobs.
Air safety in Canada
I think it’s far too close to the type of dangers we see in third world countries. Canada used to be in the forefront of aviation safety, there’s no question about it. Things like the commission of inquiry into Dryden were proofs of that, where justice Moshansky came out with such wonderful recommendations for the industry. A number of those recommendations were adopted; a number of them weren’t. The ones that weren’t [adopted] tended to be the ones that reflected upon government oversight. Instead, what they appear to have done is to get themselves out of being liable, so that when they are ‘not’ overseeing, they cannot be held financially liable for having caused somebody’s death.
Another accident – the Wapiti accident – which [date spoken in error], in Swanson and Peever vs. Canada, Transport Canada, the pilot and the operation (the company) were all found one third responsible in the deaths of the passenger.
Now, because of the changes [to the rules], what’s happening instead, we recently had a pilot convicted criminally in the deaths of his passengers. He ran out of fuel. He was convicted and yet the company was known by Transport Canada to be a problem company. The company was known to have been pressurizing pilots to fly low on fuel, [but] the company wasn’t held responsible, and is still operating. Transport Canada wasn’t held responsible, because all the rules changed.
The rules changed so that the liability was gone and the only person left is that pilot in command. That pilot in command is the one who is ultimately responsible for everything, and it no longer matters what kind of support he is getting from his government or from his company, or whether he has any kind of lobby association that can help him. That pilot’s on his own, and that’s wrong. Because these pilots are flying the general public, they’re flying workers, they’re flying accident victims. They are in the middle of it and in our skies.
Transport Canada has got this wonderful catch-phrase, that “Canada has one of the safest aviation systems in the world”, and they point to our airline accident rate as being proof of this. Well, we do have a pretty good accident rate for the airlines.
The same cannot be said for the air taxi industry. Transport Canada will tell you that the same can be said; they’ll tell you that when you look at the accident rate for air taxis back in the 1990’s, they’ve been reduced incredibly. But what they’ve really done is to alter the statistics, because air taxis used to include flight schools, and they don’t any more. Well, let’s just remember who is teaching your pilots how to fly: pilots who have no real world experience themselves.
The Canadian standards are lower than the ones that Europe is using, and Europe does have a much safer system. In fact there are a number of things that Justice Moshansky identified as well during the Bill C-7 hearings, that show that Canada isn’t even meeting its International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) obligations.
What needs to happen
The following things need to happen
- The first thing is that I’d like to see Justice Moshansky’s recommendation that there be a regular review of safety, done by an independent agency that reports to the ICAO. That’s the first thing I’d like to see
The second thing I’d like to see is a Canadian college or professional association that is mandatory for all professional pilots in Canada, all working pilots.
The reason for that is that just like doctors, or engineers or other professionals who hold people’s lives in their hands, pilots should have that same benefit and that same system of oversight within themselves – because they can be harder on each other than anybody else can, but they also understand why some of the things happen that do happen.
- And then the third thing is I’d like to see the National Compassionate Assistance Program put back in.
They started this program, the National Compassionate Assistance Program, which was meant to coordinate communications and to teach compassion, so that the governing agencies knew how to speak to aviation accident victims.
In the end both Transport Canada and the TSB backed out, and said that it wasn’t actually within their mandate, and there were lots of other people who provide compassion.
Yet aviation is so different, because when you have an aviation accident you have so many governing bodies who are involved: you’ve got the TSB, you’ve got Transport Canada, you’ve got the coroner, you’ve got the RCMP, you’ve got the Worker’s Compensation Board, or Occupational Health and Safety Board, whichever it is for your particular province.
All of these parties have interests in the outcome of an accident investigation, and yet as we see in our case, there was this terrible lack of communication, not just with the families but between the agencies. So I would like to see the reformulation of this kind of program, the National Compassionate Assistance Program which facilitates communication and ensures compassion both with and from the families but also with and between all of the governing agencies so that they are all working together, so that where they have an overlapping mandate they aren’t just relying on one agency to fulfill that mandate. Because as you can see in our accident, although the TSB had a mandate, their failure to follow through with that mandate ended up resulting in a failure of the coroner, and the RCMP, and Worksafe BC – they were all affected by this.
What people can do
These are the things that I’m trying to do right now:
Contact me at email@example.com
Go to my website. I maintain two websites: www.questforjustice.ca which is specific to our accident, and to what I’ve learned through our accident. It gives links to all the letters that I’ve written, and if you are in a similar situation then it can give you ideas on how you can approach the governing agencies, and how you can learn about what can benefit you.
I have links to my other website www.dhc2widow.ca which I maintain, which is specific to Bill C-7 and the changes in the Aeronautics Act, and how this reflects on other countries as well, and how we see similar things happening down in the United States as they are also trying to implement SMS. Although it’s not yet mandatory (just the other day it was announced that it’s going in) but it has to, because the International Civil Aviation Authority has mandated it. The problem is maintaining that oversight at the same time: it won’t work without oversight: you cannot trust the fox to oversee the henhouse.
Don’t trust them! I’m a very naïve person in a lot of ways – I’m very trusting. I’ve always trusted my government, I’ve always trusted people, I’ve always believed that people are inherently good, and what I’ve seen frightens me: I don’t believe I can trust my government any more.
They’ve certainly failed me. They’ve failed all my families and they’ve failed all these other families that I’ve reached out to and who have reached out to me. They’ve failed all these whistleblowers who are trying to make things better, these people who allow their lives to be destroyed, in order to make sure that this kind of thing that has happened to me never happens to anyone. So I don’t trust them, and that’s a scary place to be. It’s a scary place to find that you can’t trust, not to be able to trust your own government. And this is Canada!
Even now I still think that we are so much better than just about anywhere else in the world, and so I think “what’s it like anywhere else?” I think that’s a problem with Canadians: we as Canadians we do have it pretty good, and I think that because we have it pretty good we become complacent, and we think ”We’ve got it pretty good, we can just leave it be”.
Well you know what, if we keep leaving it be, we’re going to end up just like Zimbabwe – it’s not going to be good. We have to sit up and we have to pay attention to what’s happening: this is happening world wide and Canada is falling into it.
I don’t care what happens to me as a result of my standing up and being vocal about this. I don’t care. And I don’t care because I refuse to allow it to happen to anybody else. I’ll do everything in my power to stop it from happening to somebody else, and I believe that we should all be like that.
I think that if you have the power to make a difference, you need to look inside yourself and you need to find the strength so that you can make a difference too. We need people who are willing to stand up and be vocal and to tell the truth, or we’ll see more victims: like those at Davis Inlet, like those at Dryden, like those at Wapiti, like those in my accident, and I could go on and on…
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