Mr. Speaker, I think that the accident at the Westray mine has taught us several lessons and forced us to take an indepth look at what happened.
Lawmakers no doubt felt the need to correct the legislation to deal with and resolve the problems identified. Perhaps, as my hon. colleague indicated, there really are other problems in terms of government practice which, in this context, also needed to be corrected at the same time.
Perhaps the solution was not necessarily a legislative one. Sometimes, things happen as a result of mistakes made or the routine practice of tolerating certain behaviours that may be due to human error.
There was however an underlying reality, namely that there were individuals who were not properly taking their responsibilities in this respect. These individuals set an example that had terrible results.
Naturally, other solutions could be considered, such as action at the provincial level or action with respect to how mines are monitored. There had to be a specific problem, as anyone who obtained information on this situation clearly felt that the government was not properly equipped to correct the situation and bring those responsible to take their responsibilities.
This is the aspect of the problem raised here. I do not think everything can be solved by enacting legislation. That is not necessarily the way to solve everything. There must, however, at least be the most appropriate regulatory and legal framework as possible in place. The most important message is that sent to those likely to behave in a criminally negligent way.
Now they have a very clear message: from now on they will be required to face up to their responsibilities in a way that is far more clearly delineated than before. The way people have been able to defend themselves has demonstrated that a number of legislative tools were needed if people in such circumstances were to be treated fairly.
Now we will have an appropriate piece of legislation. We will also have sent a message for the future. In this connection, it is my hope that the federal government will go beyond its usual bureaucratic approach and find some means of informing all organizations, so that people get the message clearly, instead of just generating more bureaucratic red tape.
All organizations must have the perception that they have responsibilities, particularly in areas where there is a major risk of work related accident and fatal error. What we want to see in these types of organizations is for the message to be spread as clearly as possible all at all levels, so that there will be no more such unfortunate situations.