We Need Accountability

Recently in Canada Railway workers went on strike. The primary concerns were not money, but safety concerns regarding shift length and rest periods. The sides recently agreed to resolve the issues through mediation, but this only came after the Federal Government threatened back to work legislation. Back to work legislation is only supposed to be used for essential services. I do not see Railway Workers as an essential service because there are other modes of transport. The government wanting to legislate Railway Workers back to work regardless of the safety concerns raised by the union I find hypercritical especially given the tragedy of Lac Megantic, Quebec. The Federal Government passed legislation that does nothing to improve rail safety as companies do not need to declare potentially hazardous materials to towns through which the cargo will pass until after it has passed whereas prior to the accident they did not have to declare it at all.

All of this only goes to reinforce one theme. The Government does not care about public safety when it is a matter of the Economy. Our Government is quite willing to risk the lives of average Canadians to keep Economic Prosperity of the ultra-elite intact. This is just further proof that Government serves the interests of Business and not the interests of the people that elect them. In today’s society companies have more rights than individuals. Business share the same rights granted to the populace, yet do not have the consequence of repercussions Criminal Charges where there is loss of life, or harm done due to negligence. This is not how government is supposed to work. Or maybe it is how it’s supposed to work and we’ve been duped into believing differently.

I think we need laws that will make politicians and CEO’s culpable for endangering the lives of people that result in Criminal Charges being laid and lengthy prison times imposed. If companies enjoy the rights of an individual they should also face the same consequences as the individual when there is negligence on the part of the company that has cost human lives. For example, if Back to Work Legislation was passed in the case of Railway Workers in light of their safety concerns and another Lac Megantic type tragedy were to occur. The CEO of CN/CP, the Labour Minister, the Minister of Health and Safety and the Prime Minister should all be charged under the criminal code for what essentially is Murder in the First Degree and at the very least Wreckless Endangerment. Either way, Governments and Companies need to be held accountable.

T J Therien