MASSE DEMANDS MINISTER REJECT CPR’S PLAN AFTER TRANSPORT CANADA’S RESULTS: Company’s plan puts public safety at risk as defect rate of 36.1 % found by Transport Canada Safety Audit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 14, 2009

MASSE DEMANDS MINISTER REJECT CPR’S PLAN AFTER TRANSPORT CANADA’S RESULTS: Company’s plan puts public safety at risk as defect rate of 36.1 % found by Transport Canada Safety Audit

Windsor, ON—Today, NDP Industry, Automotive and Border Critic Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) joined by railway workers demanded the Transport Minister John Baird reject Canadian Pacific Railway’s plan to eliminate comprehensive safety checks at the Windsor Yard in light of the revelation that Transport Canada’s inspectors found a 36.1 percent failure rate as well as cars carrying dangerous would not have been inspected. This proves the community’s public health and safety would be put at risk if the inspectors are removed. Dramatic photographs detailing the latest safety problems further confirm the necessity of the safety inspectors.

“The attempt of CPR to eliminate the Windsor Shop Mechanical force, which is the first and last line of safety inspection and enforcement at the border for both incoming and outgoing trains, is outrageous and completely irresponsible. Transport Canada’s inspection results revealed today makes clear the enormous risk to the public that exists. Without these inspectors, I fear the entire community will be in grave danger. The Minister needs to use his authority to ensure that the Windsor-Detroit gateway and the residents of the area are protected by rejecting CPR’s proposal,” Masse stated.

The Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CPR) announced its plan to remove its Mechanical forces from the Windsor yard. This disturbing development threatens the safety not only of the railway but of public health, community institutions and increases uncertainty at the Windsor-Detroit border. The Mechanical force is the workers who are trained and experienced to conduct safety inspections of cars and rail lines. Without the Windsor workforce, trains entering Canada would not be inspected until they reached Toronto and trains destined for the US would not be checked before crossing the border. Transport Canada safety audit revealed a 36.1 percent defect rate and that cars carrying dangerous goods will not have been inspected.

Mike Tripp, a worker representative of the Windsor Yard declared, “Our concern is for the public’s safety and the preservation of the environment. Transport Canada rejected CPR’s plans in Edmonton and Cranbrook, B. C. on safety grounds. The Transport Canada inspection results prove that safety concerns exist here. Windsor deserves the same consideration as any other place in Canada. The Transport Minister can stop CPR now, before the deadline of April 24. We don’t need another Mississauga.” The Mississauga train derailment of 1979 occurred on November 10, 1979, in Canada, when a 106-car Canadian Pacific freight train carrying explosive and poisonous chemicals from Windsor, Ontario was derailed near the intersection of Mavis Road and Dundas Street in Mississauga, Ontario. Over 200,000 people were evacuated in what was then the largest peacetime evacuation in North America up until the New Orleans evacuation of 2005.

“CPR’s dangerous proposal is a case for immediate intervention to protect the public. If the Minister does not act, the likelihood of a serious incident increases from an unlikely circumstance to an inevitable catastrophe. I am requesting that resident’s contact the Minister and demand he reject CPR’s plan” Masse stated.