MASSE DEMANDS TRANSPORT MINISTER PRESERVE BORDER SECURITY: Company’s plan puts border crossing and public health and safety at risk


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 18, 2009

MASSE DEMANDS TRANSPORT MINISTER PRESERVE BORDER SECURITY
Company’s plan puts border crossing and public health and safety at risk

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 act to safeguard the border security and public health being put at risk by Canadian Pacific Railway’s plan to eliminate comprehensive safety checks at the Windsor Yard.
“At a time when the new US Homeland Security Secretary is raising concerns about the Canada-US border, 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. The Minister needs to use his authority to ensure that the Windsor-Detroit gateway maintains the security it has now.” Masse stated.
The Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CPR) announced its plan to remove its Mechanical forces from Welland, London, Lampton, Oshawa and the Windsor yard locations. 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 largest trade corridor on the continent. 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.

Mike Tripp, a worker representative of the Windsor Yard declared, “Our concern is for the public’s safety on both sides of the border.”
“The Railway Safety Study Hearings in parliament last year revealed the sorry state of the railways’ track record in this country and the need for a complete reengagement of Transport Canada’s oversight and enforcement. CPR’s dangerous proposal is just such a case for immediate involvement to protect the public. If the Minister does not act, the likelihood of an incident at the border increases from an unlikely circumstance to an inevitable catastrophe.” Masse stated.
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