Quebec court says Canadian Pacific Railway not liable in Lac-Mégantic train derailment by Marisela Amador The Canadian Press, December 15, 2022, Global News
A Quebec Superior Court judge has found that Canadian Pacific Railway was not liable in the 2013 railway disaster that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Que.
Justice Martin Bureau ruled Wednesday that the actions the railway company was accused of were not the “direct, immediate and logical cause of the damages” suffered by the victims of the tragedy.
“The court’s analysis of all the circumstances related to this tragedy that was cited in evidence, as well as the application of the rules and customs of the railway industry and the transportation of dangerous goods, as well as the applicable legislative and regulatory provisions, lead it to conclude that the defendant CP has no legal responsibility in this tragic accident,” Bureau wrote.
The lawsuit against CP was filed by three Lac-Megantic residents who lost family members in the disaster — Guy Ouellet, Serge Jacques and Louis-Serge Parent — on behalf of all the victims.
In the suit, the plaintiffs alleged that CP knew Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway Limited (MMA), the owner of the runaway train, chose unsafe train routes and that CP misclassified crude oil coming from North Dakota.
Bureau concluded the fault for the disaster lies with the train’s engineer and his employer.
“The responsibility rests primarily with the locomotive engineer and last driver of the train, Mr. Thomas Harding, and the company that employs him and was in charge of this train at the time of its derailment, the defendant Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway Limited,” the judge wrote.
The train carrying crude oil from the United States was handed off from CP to an MMA-controlled rail network in Montreal for its final journey to a New Brunswick refinery.
Before it made it to New Brunswick, the train was parked for the night on a slope leading into Lac-Megantic and the brakes failed. It rolled into town early on July 6, 2013, and derailed, with its cargo exploding and decimating part of the downtown core.
Harding and two other MMA employees were later charged with criminal negligence causing death and were acquitted of all charges in January 2018.
In his decision, Bureau wrote that CP argued it was in no way responsible for supervising or inspecting the condition of MMA’s rail tracks, which it said was Transport Canada’s responsibility. The judge also found it was the original shipper, World Fuel Services, that was responsible for the misclassification of the crude oil.
In an email on Wednesday, Salem Woodrow, a spokesperson for CP, said the company believes the court reached the proper conclusion.
“The tragedy of July 6, 2013, involving a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic train will remain forever etched in our hearts and minds,” Woodrow said. “We remember the lives lost. Our thoughts remain with their families and loved ones, the people of Lac-Megantic and all those affected by this tragedy.”If what he spewed were true, CP would have contributed to the settlement.
CP was the only company accused of responsibility in the derailment that did not participate in a $430-million settlement fund for victims, which was created as part of a class-action lawsuit involving almost 4,000 people.
The company maintained it bore no responsibility for the disaster because the train was not operated by CP employees or travelling on CP tracks when it derailed.
Julie Morin, the mayor of Lac-Mégantic, was not available for comment about the court decision Thursday.Bravo to the harmed for trying to seek justice in Caveman Canada. I wonder if the judge ordered costs against the harmed, as usual.
Quebec court says Canadian Pacific Railway not liable in Lac-Megantic train crash by The Canadian Press, Dec 15, 2022, City News Everywhere
A Quebec Superior Court judge says Canadian Pacific Railway is not liable in the 2013 Lac-Megantic, Que., railway disaster that killed 47 people.
Justice Martin Bureau ruled Wednesday that the actions the railway company was accused of are not the direct, immediate and logical cause of the damages suffered by the victims of the tragedy.
Bureau says the fault for the disaster lies with the train conductor, Thomas Harding, and with Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway Limited – Harding’s employer and owner of the runaway train.
Canadian Pacific is the only company accused of responsibility in the derailment that did not participate in a $430-million settlement fund for victims, which was created as part of a class-action lawsuit involving almost 4,000 people.
The company maintained it bore no responsibility for the disaster because the train was not operated by CP employees or travelling on CP tracks when it derailed.
On July 6, 2013, an unmanned train carrying crude oil and owned by MMA roared into Lac-Megantic and derailed, with its cargo exploding and decimating part of the downtown core and killing 47 people.
Nine years after the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, Canadian Pacific Railway still refuses to accept any responsibility, Time and again, the corporate game plan in the wake of major disasters is to deny and delay by Bruce Campbell, July 1, 2022, Toronto Star
… Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) was contracted by Irving to transport the cargo. Since it no longer had a line that went all the way to the Atlantic coast, it arranged for Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) to transport the oil from Montreal through Lac-Mégantic toward Saint John. It was more profitable for CP to engage MMA, rather than use CN Rail’s much safer route.
Despite the exponential increase in the volume of oil moved by rail since 2010, CP pressured government not to impose additional safety regulations, both directly and through the Railway Association of Canada. Concurrently,
new rules were deregulation was put in place allowing freight trains carrying dangerous goods to operate with a single crew member — the locomotive engineer — with virtually no compensatory safety measures. MMA, a company with a poor safety record, was first granted permission. These factors placed the engineer inside a perfect storm of corporate negligence and regulatory failure.
The civil lawsuit
A class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the victims’ families shortly after the disaster. The Quebec government and several insurance companies also filed lawsuits. They reached a combined settlement with 25 defendants contributing to a $460-million compensation fund. CP was the lone holdout.CP knows the courts will protect it/its investors, and rule against the harmed. It’s the status quo in Caveman Canada’s legal system from hell.
Delayed for six years, the civil trial against CP is currently underway. The company still refuses to acknowledge any responsibility, and still argues the disaster was solely the locomotive engineer’s fault for not properly setting the handbrakes.Always blame the least powerful, the least rich, the least responsible, with courts of course, playing along.
The complainants argue CP was required to select the route that minimized safety risks. It knew of MMA’s deeply flawed safety practices; it knew that the oil was highly volatile, and was responsible for the cargo from possession to delivery.
CP’s defence — typical under corporate law — is one that fragments and decontextualizes events, allowing them to concentrate on workers as the culprits rather than the risks imposed by corporations and regulators. It was summarized in the closing arguments of the corporation’s lead lawyer: “ … CP’s conduct cannot in any way be considered to be at fault, and even less as having causally contributed to the damage …”
In an ironic twist, the Transportation Safety Board report on a 2019 CP runaway train crash near Field, B.C. (killing three employees) identified multiple safety deficiencies, including inadequate risk assessments and measures to prevent uncontrolled train movement. True to form, CP issued a statement denying its responsibility and accusing the board of “misrepresenting the facts.”
Canadian Pacific returns to Lac-Mégantic
In 2019, CP repurchased the line through Lac-Mégantic which it had sold off in the 1990s.
The Trudeau government committed to building a rail bypass circumventing the town centre, but construction has been repeatedly delayed, largely due to CP’s demand for route changes.
These changes have been controversial, causing the adjoining towns of Nantes and Frontenac to withdraw their support for the project. The local citizens coalition has also withdrawn its support for the bypass. Its opposition, reinforced by risks identified by a 2020 Transportation Safety Board advisory, stems from the fact that CP wants to run trains that are twice as long, heavier, faster and pass dangerously close to the Tafisa particle board factory in the Lac-Mégantic industrial park, which stores mountains of sawdust that a derailment could easily ignite.
The bottom line
Whether or not it wins the legal case, CP’s intractable refusal to acknowledge any responsibility for the disaster or provide any compensation has generated much resentment within the community that continues to deal with the economic, health and environmental fallout from the tragedy.In Cavemen Canada, always the people, communities, and our environment pay the price. Always, even in the rare case where an ordinary citizen might “win” the citizen always loses and loses big. Example: In my case, my lawyers advised me that even if I won, perhaps 20 years down the road (how many humans do you know can sacrifice 20 years of their lives, and endure that many years of endless high stress and abuses by courts and powerful corporate defendants and their self regulators?), it would cost me more than one million dollars of my savings (I would have to sell my home to pay the legal bills) to be awarded perhaps at most $20,000 by the court that the defendants would refuse to pay. It’s incredibly sick how corporations rule Canada and elsewhere.
Nor is CP an outlier. Time and again, the corporate game plan in the wake of major disasters is to deny and delay. Considerations of justice for victims are invariably subordinated to those of profit and shareholder value.
Bruce Campbell is adjunct professor, York University, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change and the author of “The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster: Public Betrayal Justice Denied.”
To prevent disasters like Lac-Mégantic, private interests cannot be allowed to affect regulations But, private interests have decimated regulations for decades, notably in any industry related to legal-judicial, oil, gas, coal and frac. by Bruce Campbell, Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University, Canada, June 22, 2022
Bruce Campbell is affiliated with The Group of 78; the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives; the Polaris Institute; Rideau Institute for International Affairs
York University provides funding as a member of The Conversation CA.
York University provides funding as a member of The Conversation CA-FR.
On July 6, 2013, the fourth deadliest railway disaster in Canadian history took place. A train hauling 72 tankers filled with crude oil derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Que., killing 47 people.
The roots of the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster can be traced to a combination of corporate negligence and regulatory failure. It is what spurred the publication of my recently edited volume about how Canadian corporations have co-opted government agencies for private interests.
Just prior to the disaster, the Canadian railway lobby had redrafted the Canadian Rail Operating Rules, permitting freight trains to operate with a single-person crew.
Transport Canada then granted permission to the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway — a company with a poor safety record — to run its trains through Lac-Mégantic with single-person crews.
This policy change was a significant contributing factor to the disaster. It exemplifies why regulatory capture is so dangerous and why it needs to be stopped.The status quo will never allow it to be stopped. The rich are now focused on stripping us and our commons for everything they can rape and take, knowing time is limited for human life on earth.
Defining regulatory capture
Regulatory capture occurs when regulations are taken over, or captured, by the private interests of an industry, instead of being used to protect citizens’ health and safety, and the environment.
This primarily occurs when industries are the ones shaping policy, legislation and regulations, instead of the government. Industries often frame regulations as being detrimental to job and wealth creation. This enables them to block or delay new regulations, and exert pressure to remove or dilute existing ones.
The increase in regulatory capture can be traced back to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2012 Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management policy that framed regulations as an administrative burden and a business cost that needed to be “streamlined.”It’s like that in every conservative/republican gov’t. Mulroney and May set Canada down the path of destruction by industry with NAFTA.
The policy’s centrepiece was the “one-for-one” rule, which mandated regulatory agencies to offset each new or amended regulation by removing at least one existing regulation.
The one-for-one rule put regulators in an awkward — and potentially dangerous — position. If regulators want to propose new regulations, they have to remove an already existing regulation, with potentially dangerous health and safety consequences. Unsurprisingly, this policy has resulted in catastrophic accidents and is in desperate need of reform.Will never happen. What will happen is more and more deregulation – because of human greed. Every time Encana/Ovintiv broke the law and I sent evidence of the law violation to the regulators, they deregulated to make what the company had done legal.
Since the introduction of Harper’s policy, regulatory capture has spread far and wide in Canada. Oh come on, regulatory capture ran Canada long before Harper. Harper just made it worse. Experts in my edited volume illustrate how embedded it has become in various areas, from the pharmaceutical industry, as illustrated by pediatrician and clinical pharmacologist Michèle Brill Edwards, to the petroleum industry, as illustrated by the Corporate Mapping Project’s co-ordinator, William Carroll.
Confronting and overcoming regulatory capture
Until the Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management is reformed, regulators need to take the necessary steps to offset regulatory capture. My book offers concrete suggestions that regulators can follow to ensure regulations are once again made in the public interest.
As a result of regulatory resources being defunded over the years, many agencies have been forced to become dependent on corporations to develop and manage their own safety oversight regimes. To overcome this issue, regulatory agency resources must be bolstered, including hiring more personnel and increasing research capacity.
In 2021, two international bodies ranked Canada in last place among 37 countries for the effectiveness of its whistleblowing frameworks. It is clear that we need to do better as a country.
Similarly, law professors Steven Bittle and Jennifer Quaid found that regulatory enforcement and accountability provisions have been hollowed out in Canada, allowing corporations to avoid serious legal liability — including criminal wrongdoing and corruption.
To counteract this, civil and criminal liability regimes must be reformed to hold senior government officials, corporate executives, directors and owners accountable for actions that result in accidents, destruction, illness and death.Which is why industries, judges, police and lawyers self regulate, and why politicians make their rape and pillage policies legally immune – to ensure reform never happens.
Citizens must be involved
The vast majority of citizens expect their governments to take the necessary measures to protect their health, safety and environment. Understandably, opinion polls regularly indicate that the public does not trust corporations to regulate themselves.
Regulatory capture is likely to happen in a revolving door fashion, where people move seamlessly between private and public sector jobs and influence policies to suit the interests of both parties.
One way to stop the revolving door is by improving public access to information legislation. This would ensure that information shared between corporations and regulators under the veil of “commercial confidentiality” would publicly accessible.Yet, all that keeps happening, is more and more and more secrets and lies, and costs for access to information intentionally dramatically increasing making it too expensive for citizens. I paid thousands of dollars trying to get public data on contaminated drinking water investigations in Alberta. And worked like a fiend over many years trying to make my FOIP work for the public interest. I never did get the most vital data, it continues to be withheld from the public.
Citizens should also be involved in the regulatory process, since regulations are supposed to be created to protect them. Effective public participation means the right to know, the right to participate in decision-making and the right to remedy or compensation for regulatory breakdowns.
Regulators should improve mechanisms for public participation in regulation-making processes, including online engagement.
Overcoming regulatory capture will require widespread mobilization, from citizens to members of industry alike. It will require a broad toolbox of collective actions from the public, including non-violent protest, advocacy, campaigns and more. Courageous parliamentary and bureaucratic leadership is also vital to achieving fundamental change.
At a time when the threat of potential disaster looms on the horizon, the stakes could not be higher. Last year — eight years after the Lac-Mégantic disaster — an auditor general report on railway safety expressed serious concern about defects in Transport Canada’s safety oversight regime. If we are to prevent future disasters from happening, regulatory capture must be overcome.
Refer also to:
2021: This is how humanity’s patriarchal judicial rape system functions: Petromasculinity: Diamond Offshore Drilling got $9.7 million tax bailout, filed for bankruptcy protection, paid $9.7 million in executive bonuses, laid off nearly a quarter of its workforce. Seadrill Limited got $3 million bailout, did nothing to stem layoffs or bankruptcy. Superior Energy Services announced $115 million in payroll cuts, layoffs, furloughs; got $30.5 million tax bailout, paid $44 million to top execs, filed for bankruptcy
2015: Judge rejects Canadian Pacific’s challenge of Lac-Megantic lawsuit, claiming it was a “disguised appeal” made “two years too late.” The way the legal and judicial industries intentionally drag 0ut legal matters, and dramatically drive up costs for no reason other than to drive up costs and delay delay delay, creates horrific stress and suffering for the harmed.
2015: 300 Million Dollars Missing! Canadian Pacific Railway, World Fuels and Irving Oil not “contributing a penny” to $200 Million settlement for victims of Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, Quebec and Harper Governments
2013: Frac’d Bakken Oil: Abnormal ‘strength of the fire’ puzzles investigators, Lac Megantic oil spill size remains company secret, confidentiality agreement with Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway keeps spill size covered up