15 YEARS AGO… (Nov. 6-12, 1996)
WCB restores pensions to widows of deceased workers
The B.C. government this week agreed to reinstate the survivor pensions of about 270 widows who lost their benefits when they remarried after their husbands were killed on the job.
The widows, many elderly and living on fixed incomes, were denied survivor pensions by virtue of changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act that were introduced by the province three years ago.
Previously, widows of workers killed on the job who remarried were not eligible for compensation benefits. That policy was updated in 1993, but benefits were only extended to those who remarried after April 17, 1985, when marital discrimination was outlawed under the Charter of Rights.
Premier Glen Clark admitted Thursday that the 1993 changes left out women whose husbands died before 1974 and who remarried before April, 1985.
WCB spokesman Scott McCloy said this week’s decision will cost the organization about $85-million. The B.C. Supreme Court recently ruled that all surviving spouses should receive compensation no matter when they remarried.
Flash forward: While most claims have been resolved, Cobble Hill resident Les Atchison continues to fight for benefits that WCB denied his mother after his father Jim was crippled in a logging accident nearly 75 years ago.
25 YEARS AGO… (Nov. 6-12, 1986)
Parks board hopeful admits plotting attack on whaling ships
Iceland vowed to seek an extradition order for members of a Vancouver-based environmental group that claimed responsibility for sabotaging two whaling ships in Reykjavik harbour this week.
Following an emergency meeting Tuesday, Prime Minister Steingrimur Hermannsson called the saboteurs “terrorists” and said that all efforts will be made to prosecute the “people responsible for this inhuman act.”
Paul Watson, president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and a candidate in Vancouver’s parks board elections, admitted that his organization sneaked aboard the two 50-metre whaling ships and pulled out the hull hatches, causing the vessels to sink.
Mr. Watson, 36, brushed aside accusations of terrorism, claiming that activists had a right to sink the ships because Iceland was violating the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on whaling.
Mr. Watson admitted planning the sinking but refused to say how many members of his organization were involved and claimed that all of them have left the country.
Noting that several countries have failed to extradite him for similar acts in the past, Mr. Watson expressed doubt about Iceland’s chances of successfully pressing charges.
Flash forward: Now 61, Mr. Watson continues to pursue “non-violent direct action” against commercial whaling ships from Japan and other countries.
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