Meeting with pols ‘positive’ [Mining Inquiry] – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – April 25, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

For the first time in a long while, Wendy Fram has hope something good may come of her son’s death. Fram travelled to Toronto on Tuesday with Gerry Lougheed Jr. to talk to two provincial cabinet ministers about the need to improve mine safety in Ontario.

Fram’s son, Jordan, 26, was killed June 8, 2011 in a run-of-muck accident at Vale’s Stobie Mine, where he was working with Jason Chenier, 35, a husband and father.

Wendy Fram now spearheads a group called MINES (Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support), which is lobbying for a public inquiry into mine safety in Ontario.

Fram was nervous about the meeting, which took Lougheed three months to arrange, with Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle and Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi.

But she was upbeat Wednesday about what had been accomplished at the session. “It went well,” said Fram. “It was a very positive meeting. They listened to our concerns.”

She read a presentation she had prepared for the meeting because she was nervous about it, and the ministers asked her for a copy of it after, she said.

Fram admitted she was very emotional when talking about her son’s death.

The ministers said they looked forward to working with Fram, Lougheed and the MINES group, “but that’s all I can say, because right now, it’s all confidential.

“We look forward to working with them, and it’s very positive. This is finally something good happening.”

Fram said earlier this week that if the province won’t agree to a full-blown inquiry into mining practices, the Occupational Health and Safety Act should be amended to prevent accidents like the one in which her son and Chenier were killed.

An extensive investigation into the fatality by United Steelworkers Local 6500 concluded a number of factors contributed to the accident, one of which was excess water in the mine and the fact warnings from Chenier that the area was unsafe were not heeded.

The Ministry of Labour laid nine charges against Vale and six against one of its supervisors for alleged breaches of the act.

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