Friday, July 12, 2013

Slimy Politicans Make Hay Over Rail Disaster

" To critics of Stephen Harper’s government, it was evidence of the costs of deregulation; to pipeline advocates, proof that we should be moving oil underground rather than by rail; to some environmentalists, yet another sign that we need to slow down resource development until we better know how to manage it. Link

I've never been a fan of politicians, whatever the political stripe. By nature they are conniving and cynical, often dishonest and almost universally self-centered and paranoid.

In any crisis, disaster or life-changing event, their inevitable first reaction is to ask how exactly all this affects THEM and their political party and how they can limit the damage or press the advantage.

How many politicians in deep political trouble, long for a headline grabbing story to wrest away the attention of the public and shift the spotlight to something or someone other than themselves.

Politician to self; "Oh boy, maybe a plane will crash or a train derail with lots of death. Anything to take the heat off!"

And so the disaster in Lac Megantic is another lesson in  realpolitik, a case study if you will, in using a tragic event and the deaths of so many people to further a political goal or injure a political opponent.

By the way politicians aren't the only cynical bastards that seek to benefit from such disasters.
The media just salivates at the thought of a good disaster, a surefire formula to goose ratings.

It's nothing less than sickening....

As the investigation unfolds, all indications are that human error was to blame. The fact that the train involved suffered a fire on one of the locomotives just an hour before, is just too big a coincidence to accept as non-contributory.
Obviously the train was incorrectly secured, the company blaming the  fireman, the firemen the company.
More often than not, major rail and air accidents are a combination of unfortunate and cascading events, piled on top of each other ultimately leading to disaster.
The fact that both brake systems failed in an inopportune moment on an inopportune location led to a fantastic tragedy.
It happens, and although tragic, these types of accidents and loss of life will occur again, hopefully not too often.

Watching the television coverage of the Asiana air disaster in San Francisco, it appears likely that human error was the cause of the accident, but I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that more than one error was committed by more than one  crew member and that perhaps there might have been a mitigating  technical glitch. Again a story of cascading events.
It's hard to believe that only one pilot made a mistake and that the other had no responsibility.

There isn't much a government can do to regulate human error, it is part of our human experience and that is why the law demands two pilots in a commercial airliner, a sage precaution that precludes what would probably be a vastly increased number of accidents. It is called redundancy and that is why trains have multiple layers of brakes.
Why all the brakes failed is hard to chalk up to technical problems, the more likely scenario is that the first set of air brakes were damaged in the locomotive fire and that human error in setting the manual brakes occurred.
The nature of the accidents in San Francisco and in Lac Megantic point clearly to human error, although an investigation will obviously determine the actual cause.

But interestingly, in San Francisco, there are few or no  voices complaining about weak federal regulations, lack of inspections, poor equipment or runway maintenance.
With human error the likely culprit of the accident, it would be unwise and irresponsible to cast aspersions wildly and without basis in fact.

But such is not the case in the Lac Megantic disaster, as politicians and the media have been lightning quick to find fault, either with the federal government, inspectors, rules and regulations and even the rolling stock.

The Slimeballs.
'Uncle Tom' Mulcair 
"Mulcair, who visited Lac-Megantic following the derailment, said the accident was “another case where government is cutting in the wrong area.”
“We are seeing more and more petroleum products being transported by rail, and there are attendant dangers involved in that. And at the same time, the Conservative government is cutting transport safety in Canada, cutting back the budgets in that area,” said Mulcair, who pointed to decreased transportation checks on petroleum at a time when production was increasing.
“When we have a discussion about these things in the coming months or years let’s remember this day. We are watching a magnificent little village being burned to the ground by toxic products that were being transported through it,” Mulcair said. Link

I don't know where Mr.Mulcair gets his facts, but one blogger has actually checked to see if accidents are on the rise after deregulation.
Sorry to sat, the facts don't fit Mr. Mulcair's agenda;
The number of rail accidents as calculated by DAVID over at  l'antagoniste website.

The accident rate over the last five years has dropped by 30% while the transport of petroleum products by rail has skyrocketed by 28,000%.
MR. MULCAIR!!!... check your facts.

Daniel Paillé (Bloc Q leader)
According to Daniel Paillé, waiting for the results of the investigation doesn't make sense and he demanded that the federal government take action immediately by calling a Parliamentary Commission..
{T}"I want to remind the government in Ottawa that it has a responsibility starting with the gravel found between the railway ties, up until the rules that regulate inter-provincial rail transport." Link{fr}
He then blasted everyone in sight for not flying flags at half mast until he was reminded that not all the bodies have been found yet.

And in an orgy of political one-upmanship , the Prime Minister's office got into a pissing contest with the NDP trying to paint Thomas Mulcair as insensitive.
Mulcair was adamant in denying that he ever said that the tragedy was a result of government de-regulation, but a video tells another story.
"CTV News reported that "Mulcair, who visited Lac-Mégantic following the derailment, said the accident was 'another case where government is cutting in the wrong area.'" Mulcair was in Lac-Mégantic on Sunday.
"In the video, Mulcair is seen saying: "We've got to get beyond this new system that they seem to be wanting to put in place of self-regulation. Governments have to regulate in the public interest, nothing more important in what governments do than taking care of the safety of the public."
"And this is another case where the government has been cutting in the wrong area," Mulcair said in the video.".....
....Andrew MacDougall, the director of communications for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, took to Twitter on Sunday following Mulcair's comments saying: "The people of Lac Mégantic have experienced an unspeakable tragedy and we do not yet know its cause. It is grossly inappropriate for Mr. Mulcair to put politics ahead of the people of Lac Mégantic."
....Former interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae also took to Twitter to show his disapproval with the NDP leader's comments saying: "Tom Mulcair blaming Harper for the tragedy at Lac Mégantic is a new low. And as you know, I'm no fan of Mr. Harper's politics." Link
In another story;
"Within hours of the accident, NDP leader Tom Mulcair had already blamed cuts to Transport Canada, saying the increase in transporting dangerous goods via rail was accompanied by less regulation and inspectors..
...NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus cited funding and environmental assessment cuts in his criticism and defended Mulcair's initial assessment, saying Mulcair was only asking "honest" questions." Link
In another story;
"I think most Canadians would be surprised to hear that rail companies are left to inspect themselves and Transport Canada goes over the paperwork," says Olivia Chow, NDP transportation critic.
"Shouldn't there be spot-checks by the government to see whether what is on paper is actually what's happening in the field?" Link

There it is, the Conservatives, the Liberals and the NDP all trying to make political points on the back of the dead in Lac Megantic!    

Of all the quotes, this one by Thomas Mulcair turns my stomach. A cleverly crafted political message wrapped up in crocodile tears and mock concern;
"My thoughts and prayers are with those families — that's our first priority today — but there's still lots of questions and those same families deserve answers to those questions," Mulcair, who represents the Quebec riding of Outremont, said Sunday.
Are all politicians rats like the ones above?
I was duly impressed by one Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberals who said this;
"I'm blown away, obviously by the terrible destruction ... but also by the strength and the courage of the people who have come from across the country to help out," Trudeau said.
"It's still too early to try to formulate theories on why or how it happened. Today and for the coming days, we will be occupied with residents, families who lost everything in certain cases, to help them and support them.

Trudeau may be a neophyte, according to his political detractors, but he's the one leader who has demonstrated that making political hay over a disaster of this magnitude, just isn't cricket.

Let me take this opportunity to offer my sincere condolences to the families of victims and wishes of good fortune to the survivors of Canada' worst rail disaster.
I hope both levels of government leave politics aside and work to restore this town sooner than later.
With good intentions and coöperation, it isn't conceivable to have the town rehabilitated within eighteen months.
The townsfolk deserve nothing less.

Note to readers;
The followup post about electricity, Hydro-Quebec and the disastrous management of the file by Pauline Marois, that was supposed to appear today, will be published next week.


  1. You failed to mention Marois' comments, blaming Canada for the disaster.

    1. FROM ED
      The most interesting question I have is why was the train left unguarded? With so much money and equipment involved to protect the train, never mind the people, would it cost that much to have some one sitting in the cab overnight? A child might have got into the cab and died in the crash. Ed

    2. Did she really blame the federal government ?

      Any quote on that ?

    3. The most interesting question I have is why was the train left unguarded?

      That's a great question. Another would be "Why did this engineer not follow Canadian regulations regarding handbrakes?"

      The railroad initially blamed the catastrophe on the failure of the train’s pneumatic airbrakes after an engine fire, but the company acknowledged on Wednesday that the train’s engineer did not apply an adequate number of handbrakes to hold the train in place, and failed to comply with regulations....

      Operators are only required to apply enough of the handbrakes – one is found on every railcar – to ensure the train will not move even if other safety features, such as air brakes, falter....

      MMA Chairman Ed Burkhardt told Reuters the engineer failed to comply with Canadian regulations. “If it had been complied with, we wouldn’t have had a runaway train,” he said.

      Insight – Quebec train set too few brakes, with deadly result

  2. FROM ED
    Anonymous, you've got me confused. Are you saying Marois made comments or asking if she did? Ed

  3. UN GARS BIEN SYMPATHIQUE DE FRANKFORTFriday, July 12, 2013 at 6:37:00 AM EDT

    Any tragedy that makes world news everywhere for several days in a row is indeed indicative of a terrible tragedy.
    Such atrocities may take a very long time to be thoroughly investigated.
    I am totally shocked that OUR politicians were so quick on the trigger to point fingers, to accuse other politicians in, all appearances to attempt to profit and score cheap political points. Very telling about the dirty personalities of those who govern us all...
    I watched Marois' initial speech and she mentioned that rail lines were a federal jurisdiction, and they (Ottawa) should go to bat. That's all I heard from her.
    What I would like to know is the technical implications of the precise moment of what occured as the firefighters turned off the engines to fight the initial fire, while the train was still immobile in Nantes. Were they the ones who inadvertently got the train in kinetic motion?

  4. Another example of slimy, opportunistic politicians milking a disaster for their own narcissistic needs. It certainly is sickening. What's even more disturbing is that many people believe what they say. How many people actually checks facts? Or conduct their own research? And I don't know what rubs me the wrong way so much, but Thomas Mulcair really turns my stomach. There's just something about that man...

    My sincere condolences to the families of victims. May they eventually find some peace.

  5. To give credit where credit is due:

    I have been scanning the news sources on this incident. I did not find Premier Marois blaming the federal government. CMIIW. What she did was she demanded that the Feds to contribute in the emergency funding for the victims and the community. On the level below her, there are a number of Mayors in municipalities around Quebec who demand that MMA trains not passing through their territories, for the train operators to disclose what kind of cargo they carry and for the Feds to put extra measures to safeguard railroad traffic in their territories.

    1. I find that Marois has, for the most part, handled herself with dignity on this file. If she could just put her sovereignty governance on hold, she wouldn't do the worst of jobs governing during times of crisis.

  6. Muclair is even more odious then Marois in this case.

    Really what do people expect from a socialist/communist party that goes and removes the word "socialism" from they party constitution.

    It's not that they changed their stripes in any way, it's just they decided they needed to be more obtuse and shifty to get their goals.

    True sign of a union leader if there ever is one.

    When the truth doesn;t work, try lies.

    Layton is spinning faster in his grave then an shuttered Ontario gas turbine over this.

    Layton was an fool, but at least he had more intellectual integrity then Muclair.

    1. Actually I'm just making shit up like the NDP!

      Layton wanted it also.

      Remember when the truth fails, try lies.

  7. If you think those politicians are despicable for gaining political points over the tragedy, let me up the ante a little bit.

    Mouvement Quebec francais criticizes MMA for not using French in their press releases.

    1. UN GARS BIEN SYMPATHIQUE DE FRANKFORTFriday, July 12, 2013 at 9:53:00 AM EDT

      How am I not surprized by the quebecois extremists?? Even during an extreme tragedy...
      It totally reminds me of - when I was a reservist - and serving during the 1998 freezing rain fiasco in the Montreal area.
      The military move their convoys along routes that are pre-marked with special signs. Some of those signs were of course written in english because, understandibly, the troops were from CFB Petawawa which is an english speaking Brigade. Well, wouldn't you know that some convoys got lost while others had to stop, delaying aid to Montrealers. The cause? Well, some quebecois took offense with the english signs, so he removed them. After fact he told the media that " ici on est au quebec, donc tout est en francais".
      Ironic, eh?

    2. Oh well, extremists are a curse everywhere.
      The problem is when the government is too lenient with them :)

    3. @ugBSdf

      Si j'étais en Allemagne,je trouverais un millier de choses plus intéressantes que de perdre du temps sur ce blogue.Avez-vous vraiment quitté le Québec?

    4. It's every idiots day to shine and get a little media attention with the disaster.

      There really isnt; any political angle to the story. It's just a massive fucking accident.

      Multiple failures likely occurred to culminate in this.

      There are also many unanswered questions.

      Did the driver apply enough brakes?
      Did he tighten the brake wheel enough!!!! (Can we put him in jail for turning the handle but not enough?)
      Why did the locomotive catch fire in the first place? (to the journalists that think deisel burns with an open flame, back to grade school)
      Why did the fire department not ge trained properly to know not to shutoff the locomotive
      Even when everybody though it was ok to turn the locomotive off why did nobody object more. (too many rule followers without common sense?)
      Why did the fire department/MMA employee that turned the train off not call somebody else on the phone to ask them if it was ok.
      Why did MMA or transport canada not require a "wheel lock" on the rail tie to prevent it going forward even if brakes fail.

      All these questions come down to bad equipment, training, competence, poor decisions under duress or lack of sleep and just bad luck and timing.

      The next major bandwagon of course it to demand crude oil to not be shipped by railcar. Crude oil is probably one of the LEAST combustable petroleum products transported by train. Think of the propane train tanks etc.

      The govt is all freaking out about "knowing the contents". How about all the propane/gas etc delivery trucks that drive around our cities all day everyday? You think none of these has EVER had an accident where lots of people have died?

      There are probably 100 massive propane delivery trucks a day driving around montreal.

      Industrial accidents happen. They are hugely unfortunate but follow rules to be changed etc need to be driven by the accident investigators and people with SKILLS in the issues not politicians with red squares and mottos.

      Otherwise we just end up with more ineffectual rules and no fewer accidents as the politicians turn the accident into political hay and pure political games.

      Nobody in this accident is served by idiotic statements from these politicians.

    5. cebeuq,

      The next major bandwagon of course it to demand crude oil to not be shipped by railcar. Crude oil is probably one of the LEAST combustable petroleum products transported by train. Think of the propane train tanks etc.

      To be pragmatic, and not be involved with academic, philosophical and political debate, let me ask you this: would the devastation be as severe should the runaway train cars carried grains instead of crude oil?

    6. Propane is worse, natural gas would be worse.

      If you look at the railroad curve and the speed they were travelling and the fact the "le cafe" was right on the corner indicates EVERYBODY in the cafe would still be dead.

      50 railcars full of grain out of control would still have wiped out a lot of people. The kinetic energy is immense.

      The stacked railcards don;t happen from oil.

      furthermore as many have said oil doesn;t blow up like this.

      Propane or other things do.

      Bikes instead of cars. That's the only way forward.

    7. cebeuq,

      If you look at the railroad curve and the speed they were travelling and the fact the "le cafe" was right on the corner indicates EVERYBODY in the cafe would still be dead.

      Everybody in the cafe would still be dead indeed, but the city would not have been devastated by explosion and fire. My point is, should the cargo was not crude oil but grains, the level of devastation would not be as severe as this.

      Bikes instead of cars. That's the only way forward.


      When I was in Montreal, I lived downtown and worked in Kirkland by Trans-Canada, a distance of 28 km one-way. Please tell me that I should have left my car behind and taken a bicycle, particularly when it was -25C with 50 cm of snow.

    8. @ Troy: Mouvement Quebec Francais shows it's not only heartless, but shiftless. I went on the railway's site - - and found the French press releases in nanoseconds.

    9. Even worse than that, EX.

      On that Mouvement Quebec Francais page, at the bottom there's a link to MMA's press releases. 2 clicks and you're looking the French press releases.

      But I guess they're counting on people to be so outraged that they'll forget how to click on links.


    "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. "

    1. cont'd

      "The deeper evidence about this event won't be found in the train's black box, or by questioning the one engineer who left the train before it loosened and careened unmanned into the heart of this tiny town. For that you'll have to look at how Lac-Mégantic was hit by a perfect storm of greed, deregulation and an extreme energy rush driving companies to ever greater gambles with the environment and human life."

    2. This is a human tragedy not an environmental one. Even most knee jerk reaction journalists understand the oil spill will be cleaned up rather quickly.

      100 tree's burned down and some oil in the lake doesn;t make an "environmental disaster".

      Disgusting to see environmentalists trying to use this like the politicians.

      Build pipelines and we don;t have this massive loss of life when a train accident happens. Pipelines have a much larger envirmental cost to the accident but much less loss of life also.

      Depends what you value.

      Normal people value human life in all cases over the environment.

      For rabid environmentalist, nothing except the total shutdown of oil, gas, shipping, transportation and the economy is enough.

      Lets just distract them talking about solar powered trains. They arn;t smart enough to know it's a wild goose chase.

      With ever bulldozer moving forward, mother earth screams in pain!

    3. “Disgusting to see environmentalists trying to use this like the politicians.”

      What’s more interesting that even before “environmentalists” got a chance to say anything, right wingers jumped to pre-empt any politicisation of the accident and to attack even the most minor politicisation of it, because they know what the deal is. They’re not stupid (just venal). And this is the people who are quick to politicise anything, except things that get in the way of profits.

      It’s also funny how people who let their lives be driven by greed all of a sudden show compassion. But is it real compassion for the victims, or a way to smear those who would like to look for the root causes?

      "Let’s not turn this into a witch hunt out of respect for the victims. Finger pointing will not bring these people back. It is time to mourn the victims, not point fingers. Disgusting to see environmentalists trying to use this like the politicians" = something Burkhardt could easily say. Compassion-driven righteous indignation – not a bad way to deal with a PR disaster by diverting attention.

    4. @adski

      dude you and post the same articles .

      they're pretty good, aren't they?

  9. MMA: le ministre Denis Lebel refuse d'intervenir

    Quelle surprise!


    François Ricard
    Pollution, corruption, man-made catastrophes are all around us. But lots of people still claim that we must have less government, that private industries are quite capable of policing themselves. The overall aim of the private sector is "profits" at whatever cost to the population. The shareholders' well-being is more important than the population's well-being.
    Yesterday at 4:05am


    "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. "

    2007 CTV article:

    "The Canada Safety Council is calling Canada's rail system a disaster waiting to happen, and it blames deregulation for the mess.

    The council's Emile Therien told CTV News that one possible result could be the "major evacuation of a major urban area ... and all the attendant cost that goes along with that."

    To ward that off, "CSC strongly urges the government to reinstitute the authority of Transport Canada," said the council's report, obtained Monday by CTV News

    The CSC said the move to deregulation "allows rail companies to regulate themselves, removing the federal government's ability to protect Canadians and their environment, and allowing the industry to hide critical safety information from the public."

    1. FROM ED
      When Mulroney was finished there was nothing left to deregulate. He even had the tracks of certain short lines removed to the dismay of the people served by them. Farmer's throughout the Laurentians go to bed at night cursing his name. It was all done to please his friends in the trucking industry.
      He allowed them to run trailer trains through the rockies before the extra lanes were added on the steep hills. A very dangerous move trying to pass 100 feet of slow moving truck on a hill with no extra width.

  12. FROM ED
    The brakes on a train are controlled by compressed air. There must be at least 35 PSI in the compressor's retaining tank before the brakes will release. The lines are hard rubber covered by mesh metal. If they were burned in the initial fire it could have caused the greater accident.
    I can't help thinking that crude oil does not explode so violently as what we've seen. It usually burns with a lot of smoke and very little flames. Was there something else in those cars? Ed

    1. ED,

      There must have been somethign in the rail yards that caught fire and helped the crude to burn.

      Crude doesn;t "explode" and create massive wall of flame EVERYWHERE INSTANTLY like people describe.

      Sure after 30 minutes of the oil all over the wind pushing it around it will all catch. The oil will burn, increase the pressure in the closed rail cars and there will be a pressure explosion, not a chemical/fire explosion.

      But this all takes time.

      To describe the scene as an immediate firestorm is not just crude oil. Something else was acting as an accelerant.

      Perhaps kerosene storage in the railyards that lit up etc. Often kerosene is used in rail with blowers etc to melt the snow and ice for the switching gear under the tracks.

      It's all over, most people would not recognize it for what it is tho.

      As another interesting fact the "heavier" the oil is the harder it is get on fire. If the train was carrying "heavy corrosive alberta tar sands oil" (in environmentalist speak) that's even safer then railcars with "light crude" etc.

      How's that for the environmentalists. Alberta crude is safer to ship in railcars then other oil. Meanwhile environmentalists have been trying to push all this nonsense about how Alberta crude is "more dangerous" to pipelines etc.

      It's all art history environmentalist bullshit.

      They never went to a science class in their life but they think they know something about "the environment".

      In reality they just embrace fluff journalism and trite solutions to problems they can;t understand.

    2. cebeuq,

      You've indicated here that you're a global warming denier. Do you have a background in science?

      In May, a survey of peer reviewed papers from academic journals found that out of 4,000 scientific papers published over the last 20 years that took a position on climate change, 97% agreed that climate change is real and man-made.

    3. @durham

      cebeuq is firmly entrenched in his rut, mate. it will be difficult for you to get value out of him.

  13. Train accident in Paris with 7 confirmed deaths so far.

    No oil on the train. How does this happen?

    Only trains with "dirty oil" crash and kill people. Everyhting else is perfectly safe. That's why we need to regulate shipping oil by train.

    Perfect politician logic for the masses to lap up.

    1. Que faites-vous de l'aspect environnemental?La contamination des sols,des lacs et des rivières?
      Ha oui,j'ai oublié l'air que vous respirez.

    2. UN GARS BIEN SYMPATHIQUE DE FRANKFORTFriday, July 12, 2013 at 5:20:00 PM EDT

      Et toi, petit morveux, qu'en fais-tu de l'aspect environmental?
      Allez ouste, mauviette, cherches ta pelle et va conduire (ah le petrole...) au Lac-Megantic et vas aider a depolluer cet endroit.

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    4. Émotif le buveur de Chardonnay?Mdr

  14. Unfortunately the news media and your website are all over the place with terminology.

    There are no FIREMEN on trains. The fireman tended to the fire on a coal or oil-fired steam locomotive. When the railroads switched from steam to diesel in the 1950s, they fought to abolish the fireman position. They somewhat succeeded, although two enginemen or engineers (locomotive operators) in the cab became the norm.

    At one time, freight trains had a five-person crew: engineman, second engineman, front end brakeman in the cab and a rear end brakeman and conductor in the caboose. The conductor was the boss of the train even though the engineman operated it.

    Cabooses disappeared in the 1990s in Canada and freight train crews today are usually two. There is an engineman and a conductor. The conductor is usually qualified to operate the locomotive. Both have to be very well versed in all rules governing rail operations.

    The Montreal Maine & Atlantic — involved in the Megantic wreck — is a so-called short line. Often times short lines can eke out a small profit on lines that have been unprofitable for the larger railroads (that line was at one time owned by the Canadian Pacific). They do that by working out more flexible work rules. That can include work done by union or non-union employees. (The MM&A is unionized.) Pay structures can be different from larger railroads and so on. On very short lines, it’s not uncommon for someone to work as an engineman one day and then do repairs to a locomotive the next, or even work on the track. That does not happen on larger railroads.

    Larger railroads have also been trying to implement one-man crews in limited mainline applications although have so far been unsuccessful. This will not help their cause.

    The MM&A is one of two railroads in Quebec operating freight trains with a one-person crew, a single engineman or engineer. (The other is the Quebec North Shore & Labrador running between Labrador City and Sept-Iles.)

  15. Read and learn.

    1. what did you learn from this article john johnson?!? that ezra levant is a bad columnist? you didn't know already?!?

    2. Translation of what student is saying:

      Ezra is not a seppie and therefore he is a shitty journalist.

  16. I am glad Mulcair brought up the deregulation of our railways, instead of the Pablum response that Trudeau gave. If you don't bring it up now, then when? The media doesn't take notice when we talk about the consequences of the deregulation of heath, safety, and environmental standards and now, because MMA was allowed to have just one person in charge on board, we are left with about 50 people dead. Condolences to the people of Lac-Megantique and their friends and family.

  17. FROM ED
    R. R. It would have been right if we knew that deregulation had anything to do with this. Criticizing the Government for something that may have nothing to do with their policies is electioneering which is despicable at such a time. Ed

    1. Things happen for a reason, Ed. There is cause and effect. I find it amazing that there used to be 5 men crew for transport trains and now there are usually only 2. Which government gave approval for their to be be a 1 person crew, in other words, no one to check if everything was done properly as for the brakes? Who gives less and less money to the government bodies that oversee regulations? I'm glad not everyone has their head in the sand and think everything is happenstance. Mulcair is an attack dog and I am glad he has been on the attack in this case.

    2. Roger Rabbit,

      I am curious about the reduction of crew for freight trains. I know much more about air transport than railway transport, so I will bring up the example from there. In the old days, there were 4 people in the cockpit of a long-haul airliner (not including relief crew). They are the Captain, First Officer, Flight Engineer and Navigator. Because of the advancement of avionics, Flight Engineer and Navigator are no longer needed. Therefore, nowadays a two-men cockpit crew is enough, even for the longest non-stop scheduled flight, currently SQ 21 and 22 between Singapore and Newark.

      Could that be the same reason in railway transportation system?

    3. The number of crew has nothing to do with the Megantic accent because the train was sitting still. A guard sitting in the cab overnight would not have to be an engineer or assistant, just a person to disuade malevolents.
      FYI - The deregulation of the transport industry was done by Brian Mulroney who tore the Railways apart to please his truck owner friends. Steven harper had nothing to do with it. Mulcair is trying to make points and like he usually does he gets it wrong. Ed

    4. @anonymous

      many wrongs here mate. let's be systematic.

      "The number of crew has nothing to do with the Megantic accent because the train was sitting still."

      it has evrything to do with it actually. a second chap on the train maybe would have told his mate to pull on the hand brakes.

      "A guard sitting in the cab overnight would not have to be an engineer or assistant, just a person to disuade malevolents."

      and when the train started moving, you think this guy would have just sat there and enjoyed the ride down?!?

      "The deregulation of the transport industry was done by Brian Mulroney who tore the Railways apart to please his truck owner friends. Steven harper had nothing to do with it."

      harper could have brought back the regulations, couldn't he?

  18. There is another one.

    Behold, ladies and gentlemen. The Imperatif-francais has spoken on the subject of Lac-Megantic tragedy. Their comment? That Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway only has its website unilingually in English. Never mind that: 1. it is not true, 2. as an American company regulated federally it does not have to do so, 3. it is a great disaster, is language really on top of IMF priority?

    1. This should not surprise us Troy - Idiots at best and thinking only of their own selfish desires through all the trouble the poor people affected by the tragedy are going through. It's a sad society that quebec is quickly becoming wherein language is first and always the most important issue.

    2. This whole situation is a wet-dream for our separatist friends.

      Evil anglos, capitalist americans, dirty oil, federal gov. responsible for rail transport...

      It couldn't have turned out any better for them than if they caused it themselves.

    3. Yes, we'll hear all about it for years and how being out from under federal control would have prevented the whole event, if they had been in charge the tracks would have been in perfect shape, they would never leave trains near town, there would have been a guard at the least, oil should never be transported by rail in fact we should never have or use oil for anything, their Queen would have been on the scene much faster than the PM. Just wait for the arm chair quarterbacking - it'll be something to watch alright. Meanwhile the poor people will have to listen to this for years bringing back the nightmares over and over.

    4. @troy

      "3. it is a great disaster, is language really on top of IMF priority?"

      of course it is. it has always been so. hence the name, mate. why are you trying to turn this into a controversy?!?

    5. If the Railway launched a webpage dedicated specifically to the accident in English only, it would be a different thing. But here the imperatif francais cult seems to be attacking the Railway's general webpage.

    6. @troy

      "1. it is not true"

      yes it's true. the only french bit is a statement about the lac-megantic disaster. the regular website is unilingual english. i don't think it's a huge deal, but you can't accuse imperatif francais of making a false claim. sorry.

    7. @troy

      "2. as an American company regulated federally it does not have to do so."

      in the article you supply troy impératif français never claims mma legally has to go french. they clearly invoke respect, not regulations.

      sorry if i tackled your three points in an awkward order, but the important thing is they're down.

    8. Troy,
      It is true that due to advances in technology, perhaps a 2 man crew would be sufficient for raliways, as is currently the case with the airline industry.

      In this case, however, there was only a 1 man crew and that is really what I have a problem with. Did the Harper government approve a 1 man crew? There is no fail safe in this case and honestly, how can 1 person take care of a 72 car train, from one end to the other? From what happenned, not well apparently.

      A former rail engineer wrote in the Gazette:

    9. "in the article you supply troy impératif français never claims mma legally has to go french. they clearly invoke respect, not regulations."

      Except that for an organization so devoted to the Holy Law 101, they could live by example and adhere to it, instead of operating beyond it under the guise of "respect".

      Non-adherence to 101 on the part of anglos and allos is severely chastised and our critique of 101 is dismissed with a "law is a law" type of argument, but radical franco groups get to go beyond 101 by invoking "respect", all with support of media and PQ politicians. Like in the case of descriptors, when they tried for a long time to set a new extralegal boundary until they got spanked with a legal challenge.

    10. @adski

      of course. i only wanted to underline that troy was wrong, here. with the underlying objective of bringing him to a minimum level of rigorousness. for the benefit of our community.

    11. Organizations such as IF or SSJB like to lean on 101 or the OLA. Even when they are stretching the law they still like to back up their case with a recourse to the legal framework, however far-fetched or obscure the recourse might be (sometimes the appeal is to the "spirit" of the law if the letter of the law does not apply). In their statement, they mention lack of respect, but then they mention the MMA being under the federal government. Is it a way to blame the federal government for "anglicisation", or is to insinuate that the federal government does not conform to the spirit of the OLA? It's hard to say.

      If it is such insinuation, then Troy is setting the IF cult straight. If it isn't that kind of insinuation, if it's really just about respect, then the IF is just whining and we should pay no attention to them. In which case you're right, Troy is wasting his time citing the law.

  19. Lac-Mégantic: un recours collectif intenté


  20. Opinion: As a former rail engineer, I need to speak out


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