Lac-Mégantic (6)   Leave a comment

Asleep at the safety switch

Lac-Mégantic was the site of a disastrous train wreck that resulted in the death of 47 people in July 2013.

Who is responsible for those deaths, and the lack of enforcement of the regulations for safety on Canada’s railroads?

The report released by the Transportation Safety Board on August 19, 2014 shows that Canada can have good regulations on the books, but runaway train wrecks can happen when those regulations are not enforced. MMA seems to be one of those corporations which put private profit ahead of public safety, according to what we have learned in the past year.

Enforcement of “the rules” is the responsibility of the Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt. Has she accepted this responsibility? Yesterday Lisa Raitt said that, “The companies are expected to follow the rules.

As the Toronto Star says in its editorial, “Somehow Transport Canada let MMA operate trains carrying dangerous cargo with a single crew member, in older tankers, over a shoddy track. The question is, why?

The full editorial, called, “Asleep at the safety switch” is at: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2014/08/19/regulators_share_blame_for_failing_to_protect_lacmgantic_from_disaster_editorial.html

Let’s hope that some investigative journalists delve into the question of whether Transport Canada has sufficient resources, and support from the Minister of Transport, to enforce the regulations for safety on the railways of Canada.

 

Lac-Mégantic (5)   Leave a comment

Willful Blindness?

 

Regulatory Failures Behind the Lac-Mégantic Disaster

This report, by CCPA Executive Director Bruce Campbell details eight key ways in which regulatory failure contributed to the Lac-Mégantic disaster. It chronicles how Canada’s federal regulatory regime failed – directly and indirectly – to prevent corporate negligence, for which the citizens of Lac-Mégantic paid a terrible price.

The report calls for an independent inquiry into the disaster. Part of the challenge in preventing another Lac-Mégantic is to keep the spotlight on its root causes – corporate negligence and regulatory failure – and hold to account those responsible, including those at the highest level of the responsibility pyramid.

To read a blog post based on the report, go to: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/news-releases/new-report-chronicles-regulatory-failures-behind-lac-mégantic

- See more at: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/willful-blindness

Water for people in Detroit   Leave a comment

Emma Lui tells her story of bringing water to people in Detroit

NaEmma Lui and Maude Barlowtional Water Campaigner Emma Lui joined Maude Barlow and members of the Windsor chapter of the Council of Canadians to bring 1,000 litres of water – in an act of solidarity – across the Canada-U.S. border into Detroit where thousands of people have had their water shut off. The Council’s Blue Planet Project has been working with several U.S.-based groups to draw international attention to the ongoing violations to the human right to water that are happening in the city.

Read Emma’s story about the water convoy. It is a story that will warm your heart.

http://www.canadians.org/blog/my-trip-canadian-water-convoy-detroit-0

Refugees from Climate Change   Leave a comment

Sunrise

Sunrise

We have begun to see the future with respect to refugee claims based on climate change.

A court in New Zealand has decided that a family from Tuvalu may be granted temporary residency. Stephen Scharper writes that, “While the ruling rested on humanitarian grounds, the Tuvalu family allegedly constitutes the first successful application for residency based in part on climate change.”

In prophetic words, Scharper also writes that, ” If climate change continues to be an acceptable reason for refugee claims under international law, those nations denying or irresponsibly contributing to climate change might find themselves outside the law.

Scharper’s column on refugees and climate change is found on the Toronto Star website at: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2014/08/10/environmental_refugees_inch_closer_to_legal_recognition_scharper.html

Northern Gateway decision and First Nations   1 comment

The Hill Times
Northern Gateway decision a turning point in indigenous relations
By John Dillon

In announcing its approval for the Northern Gateway pipeline, the federal government said that Enbridge “has more work to do to engage with aboriginal groups.” This passing off of responsibility to the pipeline’s sponsor does not release the government from its responsibility to properly consult the First Nations affected.

If we are ever to achieve reconciliation and a respectful relationship with indigenous peoples, Ottawa must respect indigenous peoples’ rights to free, prior, and informed consent when resource extraction or transportation projects are first conceived, as affirmed by the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

More at:http://www.hilltimes.com/opinion-piece/2014/07/07/northern-gateway-decision-a–turning-point-in-indigenous-relations/39003

 

John Dillon is Ecological Economy Program Coordinator at KAIROS Canada in Toronto.
Copyright: The Hill Times

We Need Less Government Regulation! Right. Right?   Leave a comment

allanbaker:

The question really is what kind of government do we want as citizens.
Still, Steve articulates some excellent observations.

Originally posted on Class Warfare Blog:

The conservatives keep pounding the drum that we “need less government regulation,” that “government needs to get out of the way” of private enterprise so that it can create the jobs so many of us surely need. Basically they are saying is that you can’t trust the government, but you can trust corporations because, well, their reputations are on the line. As additional evidence of this I give you the the horrific failure of the tailings pond dam at the Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia. The breach of the tailings pond dam at the copper and gold mine near Likely, B.C., released 10 billion liters of water and 4.5 million cubic meters of metals-laden fine sand, contaminating several lakes, creeks and rivers in the Cariboo region on Monday. (If you didn’t know, all metals past iron on the periodic table (No. 26 out of roughly 100) are poisonous when dissolved…

View original 182 more words

Posted August 7, 2014 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

Can Increasing Inequality Be a Steady State? (2)   Leave a comment

Take Responsibility

Take Responsibility

Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital In The Twenty – First Century is selling very well.

Is this because people are concerned about the growing inequality of wealth (and incomes), or is it because, as Piketty writes, the current state of capitalism could be a threat to democracy as we know it?

Piketty, in the closing paragraph of his analysis, calls upon us all to be concerned. He writes:

“Yet it seems to me that all social scientists, all journalists and commentators, all activists in the unions and in politics of whatever stripe, and especially all citizens should take an interest in money, its measurement, the facts surrounding it, and its history. Those who have a lot of it never fail to defend their interests. Refusing to deal with numbers rarely serves the interests of the least well-off.”

For Christians, who believe in a Gospel message of God’s preferential option for the poor, Piketty’s words are a call to prophetic action.

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