An interest view of the tragic incident with regard to the explosion and fire in Lac-Mégantic
Originally Posted by TheGaurdian
In the explosion's aftermath, politicians and media pundits have wagged their finger about the indecency of "politicising" the event, of grappling with deeper explanations. We can mourn, but not scrutinise. In April, prime minister Stephen Harper even coined an awkward expression – "committing sociology" – to deride the search for root causes about horrifying events, in the wake of an unrelated, alleged bombing attempt.
But to simply call the Lac-Mégantic explosion a "tragedy" and to stop there, is to make it seem like an accident that occurred solely because of human error or technical oversight. It risks missing how we might assign broader culpability. And we owe it to the people who died to understand the reasons why such a disaster occurred, and how it might be prevented in the future.
So here's my bit of unwelcome sociology: the explosion in Lac-Mégantic is not merely a tragedy. It is a corporate crime scene.
Originally Posted by TheGaurdian
The recklessness of these corporations is no accident. Under the reign of neoliberalism over the last 30 years, governments in Canada and elsewhere have freed them from environmental, labour and safety standards and oversight, while opening up increasingly more of the public sphere for private profit-seeking.
The railway in Canada has hardly been exempt. Up until the mid 1980s, the industry, publicly-run, was under serious regulation. By the time the Thatcherite Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney was finished with his reforms, it was deregulated, and companies had rewritten the safety rules. That launched an era of cost-cutting, massive lay-offs, and speed-ups on the job, and eventually, the full privatization of companies and rail-lines.
The Liberal government completed the job by turning over what regulation remained to rail companies themselves. A report issued in 2007 by a safety group spelled out the result: Canada's rail system was a disaster in the waiting.
It's little wonder, then, that today's oil and rail barons have cut corners with ease. They've been using old rail cars to ship oil, despite the fact that regulators warned the federal government they were unsafe, as far back as 20 years ago. A more recent report by a federal agency reminded the government that the cars could be "subject to damage and catastrophic loss of hazardous materials." All were ignored. To top it off, the federal government gave the go-ahead last year to Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway to operate with just one engineer aboard their trains.
It's too bad we don't have the equivalent of a Grand Jury in Canada.
Their powers are perhaps excessive, but certainly feared, and one would be perfect in this situation.
Start handing out subpoenas, and watch the excrement hit the fan,
We do. They are called Royal Commissions. Usually the cost exceeds whatever they happen to be investigating. They drag on for years and any useful conclusions are suppressed. Any valid suggestions ignored. However PM buddies do make out like bandits financially.
Thankfully RCs seem to have fallen into disfavour but I am sure King Harpo has a few buds who would love the big financial windfall which would come their way should he appoint them to a Royal Commission to investigate this incident.
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Bill C-51 is an act of Terrorism! It cannot be fixed and should be immediately repealed!