Hamyaari Media: The need for support for families affected by wrongful death legislation in British Columbia

As seen in Hamyaari Media by Sima Ghafarzadeh, 12th May 2023.

Original article
English translation

Last year, at the end of April and on the eve of the third anniversary of the tragic death of Amir Sedki, we devoted a significant amount of the contents of issue number 158 to the topic of ” Wrongful Death Law” in the province of British Columbia (BC Wrongful Death Law) . A law that many British Columbians are not aware of, and according to which if a person dies in our province due to the negligence of another, if the deceased person is not the breadwinner of the family, his family has no right to sue the guilty person or organization. No, it is subject to receiving compensation.

Amir Sedki, a talented 26-year-old artist and philanthropist, who was at the height of his prosperity and with a bright future ahead of him, died on May 4, 2019 due to a plane crash near Smithers, British Columbia, while performing a work mission over the forests of northern BC. lost the Obviously, nothing can make up for such a loss, but when the family finds out they have no right to sue the plane’s charter company – whose technical problems have been proven, according to the Transport Safety Board of Canada’s report – they can receive little, if any, compensation. A little peace of mind should be provided for the family members, and in fact, their child is not considered equal to the other victims of this accident, this heat is getting more and more intense.

Last Thursday, May 4, 2023, and on the fourth anniversary of the death of Amir Sedki, a number of family members, friends and acquaintances gathered at his grave and in addition to honoring his memory, once again, Marzieh Beyhaqi and Abbas Sedki, mother and father Zindayad Amir reminded everyone about the very old law of “death due to negligence” in BC province and emphasized the necessity of trying to reform and change it.

Families such as Amir Sedekhi’s family have been trying for years in the In Their Name campaign to amend this very old law that has been changed in most Canadian provinces, but unfortunately, their activities and continuous pursuits have not yet yielded any results. During the last two decades, the British Columbia provincial government, regardless of which party was at the helm, despite the activities of the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Association and the In Their Name campaign, whose petition has been signed by more than 18,000 people and Also, despite the support of some politicians for this campaign, he has not yet taken any action to change this law.

In the mentioned special issue, in addition to Marzieh Beyhaqi and Abbas Sedki, we are with the active members of the Association “Reform of the Law of Malpractice in the Province of BC” and three politicians of the province, including the then Attorney General and the current Prime Minister of the province, David Eby, his critic. At the BC Liberal Party (now renamed BC United), we spoke with the province’s official opposition, Mike DeYoung, and the leader of the BC Green Party, Sonia Fursteno, and discussed the ins and outs of the BC government’s resistance to this change. we paid It is worth noting that in that conversation, David Eby promised that this law would be reformed by the end of the provincial government’s term, which of course is not long, a promise that the families of the association “Reform the law of wrongful death in the province of BC” looked at with skepticism. they do. If you want to know more about this topic, you can read this article as one of three finalists for Best Reporting in a Language Other than English at the 36th annual Jack Webster Journalism Awards .

Also, at the beginning of May last year, for the first time, a rally was held in McBride Park in Vancouver on the occasion of Mother’s Day, with the presence of a number of families affected by the “death due to negligence” law in the province of BC. In that gathering, a number of survivors of the victims spoke about their loved ones and the problems they had in pursuing the offenders legally, and demanded the change of this law. Then, the protesters walked the distance between this park and the office of David Eby, the then Attorney General of the province, with placards containing the photos of the victims and their requests to change the “death due to negligence” law, and gathered in front of his office, which was of course closed. They taped pictures of their loved ones and their pleas for a change in the law to the glass of David Eby’s office.

Once again this year, on the occasion of Mother’s Day, the Association “Reform the Law of Wrongful Death in the Province of BC” has invited the public to join the Mothers for Justice Memorial Walk on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 1:00 pm in McBride Park at Gather below:

McBride Park, 3350 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver

In this gathering, a number of families will speak, including members of the living family of Amir Sedki, as well as a number of members of the aforementioned association. Then, this group will walk towards the office of the Prime Minister of the province, David Ibe, and like last year, they will place the photos of loved ones who were killed due to the negligence of others and justice was not served to them, together with a rose flower branch, in front of the Prime Minister’s office so that their voices will be heard. In the invitation text of the association “To reform the law of wrongful death in the province of BC” it is stated that David Eby, as the premier of the province, is the politician who is responsible for this law.

It is hoped that the members of the Iranian society will help the voices of these families to be heard by participating in this rally and walk.

For more information about this program, visit this page


About the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society

‘In Their Name’ is the campaign of ‘The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society’ – a BC registered non-profit organization comprised of volunteer families who have lost a loved one to wrongful death in BC and were denied access to justice. In response to the biggest human rights issue facing the province today, our goal is to modernize British Columbia’s antiquated wrongful death legislation, which predates confederation (1846). Under current legislation, the value of a human life is measured only by the deceased’s future lost income, so long as they had dependents.

As a result of the province’s antiquated law, access to justice has been denied to the families of the wrongfully killed who do not meet this discriminatory criteria. This has affected especially vulnerable groups, namely children, seniors, the disabled, and anyone without dependents when they are killed by the negligent or intentional acts of another.

BC is presently the last of all the provinces, yet to have undertaken this critical legislative modernization to allow for dignity, value, and protections for all its citizens under the law.

When it’s ‘free’ to kill in BC, wrongdoers are not held accountable. This lack of general deterrence holds the province back in terms of incentivizing innovation of safety measures and protocols to prevent wrongful deaths in the first place.

Here’s How You Can Get Involved…

The Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, is responsible for the modernization of BC’s wrongful death laws. Our Society provided David Eby with the drafted ‘Wrongful Death Accountability Act’ when he was acting as the Attorney General for British Columbia for 6 years between 2017-2022. The new Attorney General, Niki Sharma, also shares responsibility as she is the Minister responsible for the ‘Family Compensation Act’ – the current guiding piece of legislation that the civil courts must follow in cases of wrongful death. Minister Sharma receives feedback from the regional ‘Members of the Legislative Assembly’ (MLAs) and follows orders from the Premier, David Eby, who is ultimately responsible for modernization.

Reform is presently at a standstill, as the BC NDP government does not presently view access to justice for the surviving family members of the wrongfully killed as a priority in this province. This is despite the fact that the families behind our Society have been fighting for modernization for over two decades. And despite the fact that all other provinces, including the Yukon, have already modernized in most cases long ago.

The only way to move this forward is by creating massive public awareness and outcry for legislative modernization. Only under the scrutiny of the public and the media will our politicians be forced to take this necessary, and long overdue action.

How many more people will need to die from the same preventable wrongful actions before our politicians will do their job?

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