Burton Winters’ family asks government to call inquiry
The family of Burton Winters wants answers from Justice Minister Andrew Parsons about when an inquiry will be called to investigate the circumstances of Burton’s death, and Parsons is offering assurances that the inquiry is going to happen.
In a news release, the family pointed out the 14-year-old from Makkovik died in January 2012, and despite a 2015 election campaign promise from the Liberals, no action has been taken on the inquiry.
“Having endured the worst possible loss imaginable, compounded by serious questions regarding search and rescue efforts, the time is long past for giving this family the answers they deserve,” said lawyer Thomas Williams, speaking on behalf of the family.
“With almost two years having past (since the 2015 election) still no inquiry has been called and there are no indications of when that might happen. The family and Burton deserve more.”
The provincial government is a little bit jammed up with inquiries right now. Earlier this year, Justice Leo Barry completed a promised inquiry into the shooting death of Donald Dunphy. The Liberals also promised during the 2015 election campaign to do an inquiry into a controversial Labrador roadwork contract involving Humber Valley Paving.
Since the election, Premier Dwight Ball has also committed to doing inquiries into the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, and into the issue of Innu children in social services care.
Parsons said the province still plans to hold an inquiry into Burton Winters’ death, but the Canadian Senate is currently doing a national study of search and rescue issues, with the final report expected to be released in December.
“I don’t want to start an inquiry prior to that, because they may do a significant amount of the work for us. That being said, we’re still committed.”
Parsons asked for patience from the Winters family.
“I understand their pain,” he said. “What I would assume is that they want something that’s done right, and done in a fashion that would provide answers.”
In a news release, Williams asked the government to get moving.
“The death of a young child and the subsequent search and rescue efforts are at the heart of this issue,” Williams stated. “Young Burton Winters was very clearly let down in the worst possible way by the system, and we cannot stand by and continue to let him down. The family is urging Minister Parsons and Premier Ball to do the right thing and call this inquiry immediately, so that they might finally have some peace.”
“I understand their pain . ... What I would assume is that they want something that’s done right, and done in a fashion that would provide answers.”
Justice Minister Andrew Parsons