Sunday, February 11, 2007

Profiles in courage: The Stephen Harper edition.

Spines of steel, the lot of them (all emphasis tail-waggingly added):

In recent months, Ottawa appears to have taken a keen interest in the number and severity of derailments. First in November an inquiry was called to investigate rail accidents in B.C. Then in December Transport Canada announced plans for a full review of the Railway Safety Act.

But any review or inquiry may be redundant when the Government probably already has the information they need about CN and railway safety in Canada. A Transport Canada safety audit of CN's practices has been kept secret for some time.

The safety audit, ordered in August 2005, was promised to be made public by the Liberals. Completed last year, the safety audit findings have not been released by the Conservative government. Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon says that's because CN doesn't want it made public. "I would want it to be made public but I can't," Cannon tells W-FIVE.

In other news, the Conservatives were about to unleash a series of attack ads targeting Liberal leader Stephane Dion, but cancelled them after Dion asked them not to.

Oh, wait ...


Anonymous said...

In common law jurisdictions, the basais of tort liability, i. e. negligence, is "foreseeability." Society will not shift the costs of a loss from one innocent party to another innocent party. But if one party foresees the danger of loss, and accepts that danger, society in common law jurisdictions, will shift the costs of the loss from the innocent party onto the "tortfeasor," i. e., the "guilty" party.

If the Government publicizes the results of the audit, the courts will take the position that CN must have foreseen losses that uncorrected unsafe practices have caused, at least after completion of the audit. This will relieve plaintiffs' lawyers from the burden of proving CN foresaw these losses resulting from any uncorrected, unsafe practices. In other words, it would tip the scales of justice against CN. What Tory Government would want to do that?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of CN Railways, I see E. Hunter Harrison made No. 2 on the list of highest paid executives. I've noticed over the years that politicians of any stripe are not usually interested in pissing off people like that.

Anonymous said...

That's why Harper would rather sweep the deaths of the people in this story under the rug.
Yeah, Harper cares about ordinary Canadians. Harper and Harrison care about themselves above and beyond all.
How many more deaths, how many more ruined lives, how many more contaminated rivers will Harper ignore to save his job?

Anonymous said...

CN operates on a risk management structure.
While touted as a cost containment strategy, it is basically at odds with public safety.
It is even more effective in Canada than the US due to our historically lower court settlements for loss and damage.

It works something like this:
If you have to spend $10 million every 10 years to prevent a $9 million accident over the same period, guess what?
Have the accident and save the one million.

Buildings, cows, a human life.
They all have an estimated value and are just part of the cost of doing business, Yankee style.

Bringing higher corporate profits and death right to your door...
Oops. I'm sounding cynical, no place here for that now, is there?

Wiki on E.H.H. -