Thursday, January 23, 2014

New column day

Here, on how the reactions of the federal government and the rail industry six months after the Lac-Mégantic rail explosion only seem to reinforce the risk of more disasters to come.

For further reading...
- Monique Beaudin reports on the finger-pointing and other attempts to avoid responsibility on the part of the corporations linked to the explosion. And I'll especially highlight the chutzpah of the group of oil services companies in arguing that as U.S. companies, they're entitled to ship oil through Canada while being above the law when it comes to cleanup of a spill.
- Meanwhile, David Sharp reports on the sale of MMA.
- Today's news of some additional review of the dangers of shipping by rail by the Transportation Safety Board represents some improvement - at least compared to last week's report about the elimination of the federal government's emergency directive following lobbying by CN and other railways.
- But it remains to be seen whether the Cons will follow through on the recommendations. And in light of TransCanada's declaration that it wants to set up a massive set of new infrastructure to ship oil by rail, there's a real possibility that the Cons will include shipment by rail in their list of oil-industry actions which must never be questioned no matter how explosive the consequences.
- Don Braid at least recognizes the need for more credibility in talking about the effects of tar sands development, but also implies the problem is one of branding rather than substance.
- And finally, David Climenhaga discusses the backlash against Neil Young's modest effort to draw attention to the health and rights of First Nations:
Refusal to bend to the will of this nearly omnipotent and omnipresent industry, with its vast wealth and numberless retainers, hirelings and toadies in government and media can be a risky proposition -- as we have all seen with the hysterical and unremitting national campaign against rocker Neil Young throughout the past few days.

Young's crime? Publicly supporting a northern Alberta First Nation that's fighting Bitumen Sands expansion on its traditional land. That Young has given as good as he got, and held his own against this tide of rage and fury, has given this story a David-and-Goliath quality that has many ordinary Canadians shaking their heads and wondering, "What are they afraid of?"

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