In the final report on the rail explosion that killed 47 people and obliterated a Quebec community’s downtown core, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada pointed directly to what it called a “weak safety culture” at Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway. The TSB also cited the “limited number and scope of safety management system audits” conducted by Transport Canada.
And the Tories send out Transport minister Lisa Raitt to deflect any criticism of the government responsibility for serious oversight.
Transport Canada official report
For several years, Transport Canada’s regional office in Quebec had identified MMA as a company with an elevated level of risk that required more frequent inspections. Although MMA normally took corrective action once problems were identified, it was not uncommon for the same problems to reappear during subsequent inspections. These problems included issues with train securement, training, and track conditions. Transport Canada’s regional office in Quebec, however, did not always follow up to ensure that these recurring problems were effectively analyzed and that the underlying conditions were fixed.
In addition, although MMA had developed a safety management system in 2002, Transport Canada’s regional office in Quebec did not audit it until 2010—even though this is Transport Canada’s responsibility, and despite clear indications (via inspections) that the company’s safety management system was not effective. Transport Canada Headquarters in Ottawa, meanwhile, did not effectively monitor the Region’s activities. As a result, it was not aware of any weaknesses in oversight of regional railways in Quebec, and it did not intervene.
The federal department did not follow up to ensure that “recurring safety deficiencies” at the company were corrected.
This is an age old problem with the Canadian Tories and American Republicans. Cut all “red tape” and let business do what it wants. They are our friends and major donors. There is too much regulation. Unleash that magic cure all, free market capitalism.
In Ontario we saw it with the Harris government—the late Jim Flaherty, Baird and Clement taking their assault on the common good and government responsibility to ensure our collective well being.
These people do not understand original sin.
Most businesses will continue to maximize profit and minimize public responsibility.
Ontario had a real joker as Minister of Transport, a car dealer al Palladini who became the Minister of Flying Wheels.
As usual the harris government opted out of transport oversight and allowed huge trucks to roam our highways with little supervision, very few checks. Business will police itself. Sure it will. Wheels began flying off trailers and killing Canadians. When the public screamed they finally acted and discovered 90% of these wagons posed significant danger to the public. tell that to those who lost loved ones.
Then there was Walkerton.in May 2000 we saw The outbreak of E.coli, seven residents dead 2,300 people sick,and for 6 months the town’s 5,000 residents had to rely on bottled water and treating tap water with bleach.
Lax oversight. A Tory hack given a plum job of looking after our drinking water, simply didn’t do it. An ideological government cutting back health and safety regulations put the citizenry in jeopardy. Cutting “red tape” to them was simply “Common sense.”
Lac Megantic is just another variant of this.