Nathan Cullen’s community meeting statement regarding Burns Lake sawmill explosion

Friends,

I am sorry I cannot be in Burns Lake personally during this very difficult time.  Please know that I have been in close contact with First Nations and community leaders, and police, health and coroner’s authorities since Friday night. 

You are constantly in my thoughts, as I know you are with residents of Skeena-Bulkley Valley, and all Canadians.  This tragedy has shaken Canadians everywhere.

Opposition Leader Nycole Turmel has asked me to extend her very deepest sympathies. 

She assures you that the Official Opposition will work alongside you and your leaders to secure all possible federal aid to help move forward from this terrible incident. 

Disasters of this magnitude require the cooperation of all levels of government.  There is absolutely a need for federal assistance and we will do everything we can to have Ottawa deliver promptly and fully on this responsibility.

Answers to this tragedy will come in due time.  We need answers. That is part of the healing process.  But right now, our energies are entirely focused on supporting the deceased, missing and injured and their families.

I would like to close by thanking the first responders who raced through a blizzard Friday night from across the North to help you here in Burns Lake. 

Thank you to the workers who helped injured colleagues out of the burning mill. 

We are hearing of so many selfless acts of bravery and compassion from people who set aside their own safety to help others. 

Thanks also to the hundreds of volunteers who continue to provide comfort and assistance to families.

Burns Lake is a community in shock and mourning.  Please know that I stand alongside you today to offer comfort. 

And I will work with you in the days and weeks ahead for federal assistance to help your community recover economically from this devastating tragedy.

Nathan