Mr. Speaker, I was seven years old when the Westray mine exploded 25 years ago. I remember sitting in Mrs. Williams' class at Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School as we learned of the disaster that would break the back of my community. We all spent days watching the tragedy unfold, and hoped and prayed that the rescue workers would find the men alive underground. Our hope would soon fade as we learned that our community had lost 26 fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons.
After years of advocacy by members of the families who were affected by this disaster, Parliament passed laws to promote safer workplace environments. I commit that as long as I am fortunate enough to sit in this House, I will work to see those rules enforced.
To the families of those 26 men who were lost in the explosion a quarter century ago, we remember those loved ones on the sombre anniversary this week. As the monument at home in Pictou County reads, their light shall always shine.