The Canadian Supreme Court of Canada was scheduled to hear arguments Thursday as the families of nine miners killed in one of Canada's worst mass murders during the 1992 NWT Giant Mine strike appealed the loss of a Cdn$10 million judgment.
A ruling from the high court is not expected for some time.
Nearly a year ago, the Northwest Territories Supreme Court ruled that Pinkerton's of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories, the National Automobile, Aerospace, Transportation and General Workers of Canada and Timothy Alexander did not owe a duty of care in negligence to the surviving family whose loved one were killed in a September 18, 1992, blast deliberately set by a striking miner.
Eight miners' widows, one miner's mother, and 17 children were directly impacted by the blast.
Then Royal Oak Mining CEO Margaret Witte, now Peggy Kent, and Royal Oak Mining bought the Giant Mine in 1990 when the gold price had dropped below the cost of mining. Witte slashed costs and increased production as the mine union complained safety had been compromised in the process. The miners had planned a strike on May 23, 1992, but Royal Oak locked them out, hired replacement workers, and transported them to the mine within hours of the announced walkout.
After several months, several union members crossed the picket line and resumed work. A group of striking miners, who called themselves the Cambodian Cowboys, engaged in sabotage of the property. Roger Warren, a striking mining, was convicted of murder after a railcar transporting replacement workers hit a trip wire the morning of September 18th, setting off a powerful explosion which killed the men.
Northwest Territories Supreme Court Justice Arthur Lutz found that the union had endorsed much of the sabotage, and found Warren was encouraged to commit his crime by other miners. He also ruled Royal Oak had failed to adequately protect the miners and should have known using replacement workers to keep the mine open would lead to violence.