Lets jump back in time. Back as far as I can remember. I’ve met quite a lot of people who surprisingly can’t remember to much about their childhood. I, on the other hand remember very very much. Get ready for the good and the ugly.
In 1992, my family and I moved to Yellowknife, NWT. The reason for this move… yes you guessed it! My father is a miner. The Giant mine located in Yellowknife was going on strike. My father worked for a contracting company and was hired basically to cross the picket line and work. During this year in September, at the height of labour dispute also with the declining price of gold led to major pay cuts. The dispute lasted 18 long months with the Canadian Association of Smelter and Allied Workers union (CASAW) Local 4, with refused negations, arguing that the company was also lax on safety. Men were being replaced by men who needed the work. And Yes, my family classified as one of those people who needed to work.
Now before there is any comments on that last sentence I will say, Fact everyone is capable of working, and fact when your work place decides to strike, even when you are against it, in the real word… we’re all replaceable. The company locked out the union and flew in strikebreakers. Yes. That what we were.. strikebreakers. (It not a nice sounding word.)
On September 18, 1992, an explosion in a drift of the mine, 750 ft (230 m) underground, killed nine strikebreakers/replacement workers riding in a man-car. For 13 months after the blast, the RCMP interrogated hundreds of strikers, their families, and supporters, wiretapping their telephones and searching their houses. Owner of the mine, Margaret Witte said that there would be no negotiations with the union unless an arrest was made.
The strike ended the following year, 1993.
Mine employee Roger Warren was later convicted of placing the bomb. He was convicted of 9 counts of 2nd murder. Warren was convicted in 1995 after a confession with the RCMP. In 2003 Warren again confessed to the bombing, saying that he acted alone. This second confession followed the decision by the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, to drop their investigation of the case.
In Warren’s testimony in 2004 in the lawsuit filed against him by the widows of the 9 men. Warren placed blame on poor security, the union, and the mine (Royal Oak Mines Incorporated) for provoking him. Stating, he was only capable of the bombing because strikebreaker’s were dehumanized by the union. And expressed that his termination resulted in the 9 deaths. In 2008 the nine Giant Mine widows lost their $10-million civil suite when the Northwest Territories Supreme Court overturned an earlier ruling. The Court found that although the security firm and the government owed a duty of care to the replacement workers, that duty was not breached.
He became eligible for parole in 2010, applied for day parole in mid March 2014 and was granted after a hearing on June 17, 2014. At the hearing he expressed regret for the murders.
Now, I’ve done my research many years ago about what happened at Giant Mine. And why my father was crossing the picket line. My father is a hard worker, and is extremely loyal to his company. I’ve had a huge respect for what my dad does for a living, and always wanted to follow in his footsteps. But that didn’t happen obviously. That job, is what probably broke our family apart to be honest. Either you become the mine or the mine will become you. If you don’t understand that when you first read it. That’s okay. Just follow along and hopefully the puzzle pieces will fit together.
When we moved to Yellowknife, I was 2 years old. My older sister would have been 7-ish, roughly. We lived in a 2 bedroom apartment building. There was a playground just in front of the apartment and my sister school was just around the corner. My mom worked at the local shell gas station. I can remember riding on my dad’s snow machine to visit her. That thing ran forever. Even after all the crap it got. I’m sure there will be other stories to tell that will include the Enticer. As shown below, I swear it’s the exact same one.
Yellowknife is when I saw my first violent fight between 2 people whom I called mom and dad. And it’s probably what set a course for things to change in my life, my family. The first sign. But it didn’t end there.
From the outside looking in, we had a picture perfect family. But no one knew what happened behind closed doors, or in the late night. I can in fact still close my eyes and replay moments from then. Like I’m standing in the corner watching it all transpire. And before I get into detail, I should probably speak with my mom about this. Since it would be to expose all.
So lets just end this post as a Part 1.
Stay tuned for Part 2. Never know what might be told.
– ♥- P