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Five horn blasts




Five horns blew across the city this past Sunday — just before a moment of silence. With each horn blast, I got more goosebumps. 


I thought about each of their lives and said each of their names: Eric, Patrick, Jared, Cailen, and Brad. 


As I said their names, the lump grew in my throat, the tears welled in my eyes, and the mama’s heart in me broke for each of them. 


Sunday was the National Day of Mourning. A day to come together to honour the memory of workers who have lost their lives or have been injured on the job. The July 12, 2021 crane accident claimed the lives of five men, has become a somber reminder of the risks faced in the construction industry.


On that tragic day, workers Eric and Patrick Stemmer, Jared Zook, Cailen Vilness, and Brad Zawislak lost their lives. The impact of their loss is felt deeply by their families, colleagues, and by the community as a whole.  


For me it is very personal. My private sector office faces the crane that fell. My employees were some of the first on the site after it happened. Workers in the city that day were shocked, and went home and hugged their loved ones just a little tighter and for just a little longer. 


While we remember this tragic event on the National Day of Mourning, we also think of all those in all industries who lost their lives or had them altered forever by work accidents. As a business owner, MLA, and a proud caucus member of BC United, I am deeply committed to advocating for the safety and well-being of every worker.


I am committed to pushing for policies that ensure such tragedies are never repeated. BC United will continue to stand up for all workers and their safety and for better policies on training and prevention and safety protocols.


BC United is committed to the safety of our workers, our children, and our residents. We have pressed the government hard on safety measures for workers as well as for an end to David Eby’s catch-and-release justice system.


BC United and Opposition Leader Kevin Falcon recently tabled private member’s legislation to automatically stop people convicted of dangerous offences from legally changing their names.  He tabled this bill after learning child-killer Allan Schoenborn was recently permitted to legally change his name.  


A simple change to the Name Act to protect our communities.


Schoenborn was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of his children, aged five, eight and 10, whose bodies were found in the family's Merritt, B.C., home in 2008.


While he was found not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder after the verdict, his name change came to light when he asked the BC Review Board, that determines his custody status every year, to restrict publication of his new legal name. The board denied the application and Schoenborn may legally challenge the decision.


His new identity has not been made public.


Currently, Vital Statistics under the Ministry of Health has complete authority to deny any change of name application that is “sought for an improper purpose or is on any other ground objectionable” but the NDP government failed to use that authority to prevent

Schoenborn’s name change.


In Falcon’s words: “The NDP government had every opportunity to prevent this monster’s application for a name change with provincial powers under the Name Act, but they didn’t do anything. Since British Columbians cannot rely on David Eby and the NDP to exercise their authority to protect our communities from dangerous criminals like Schoenborn, the legislation I’ve tabled today will force government to reject them by default.”


My question to you is this: Do you agree that convicted dangerous offenders should not be permitted to change their legal name? Why or why not?


I love hearing from you and read every email.  Please email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call the office at 250-712-3620.

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