Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Remember the Line About Horses and Barn Doors? Hey, Merv, Why The Rush?
The Harper government has pulled the operating licence from the now bankrupt Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railroad. Apparently the Canadian Transportation Agency concluded that MM&A doesn't have adequate third-party liability insurance.
"It would not be prudent, given the risks associated with rail operations, to permit MMA and MMAC to continue to operate without adequate insurance coverage."
The company has said it has less than $25-million in coverage. The clean-up costs alone for the Lac Megantic catastrophe are expected to exceed $200-million.
It's time we had a rubber-glove examination of our Canadian Transportation Agency which seems to be the same outfit that fairly recently granted MM&A dispensation requiring just one engineer instead of two on its locomotives. Somebody there must have figured that $25-million was adequate third-party coverage well before the Lac Megantic disaster. What other brilliant decisions has CTA made?
And, while we're on the subject of dodgy trains hauling Athabasca bitumen, congratulations to retiring Conservative MP, Manitoban Merv Tweed, who is resigning at the end of the month. The former chairman of the Commons transport committee, wraps up an 18-year stretch in provincial and federal politics to become the new president of Omnitrax Canada, a rail company that's planning to ship western crude through northern Canada to tankers at Churchill, Manitoba.
Omnitrax CEO Kevin Shuba praised Tweed, saying he "brings a wealth of knowledge" to the rail company. I'll bet he does, Kev, I'll bet he does. Kind of makes you question whether Tweed will be leaving the Tories for Omnitrax or whether he'll just be Harper's man inside the oil railway?
I also wonder if Marvelous Merv or his transport committee had anything to do with procuring MM&A its exemption from the two-engineer rule? Maybe he should stick around Ottawa for a while to answer a few questions.