Workers accused in Lac-Mégantic derailment - The Crown should drop all charges!

MONTRÉAL, Aug. 28, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - In light of new facts presented in the Transportation Safety Board's report, the Crown should consider very seriously dropping the charges against the MMA workers. That is the message released jointly today at a press conference by the Quebec Director of the United Steel Workers, Daniel Roy, the lawyer for engineer Tom Harding, Me Thomas Walsh, and the executive director of the Juripop legal clinic, Marc-Antoine Cloutier, whose lawyers are representing traffic controller Richard Labrie.

"The report clearly lays the blame on a deficient organizational culture at MMA and a lack of oversight by Transport Canada. It should now be clear that the charges against each of the workers are no longer justified. Continuing on this path will not serve the genuine public interest and will do nothing to prevent a disaster like this from recurring," said Me Thomas Walsh and the executive director of the Juripop clinic, Marc-Antoine Cloutier.

The Quebec Director of the USW, Daniel Roy, who is representing those charged in the Lac-Mégantic disaster, had difficulty swallowing the federal government's eagerness to lay blame on the three MMA employees.

"Transport Minister Lisa Raitt had not even finished reading the report that blames her department before attempting to divert attention by reminding everyone that criminal charges have been laid. While Ms. Raitt and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney shirk their responsibilities, simple workers are made scapegoats," said Daniel Roy.

"The former Minister of Transport, who was responsible for the lax attitude towards MMA, Denis Lebel, is strutting around on a pre-election tour, but people are not fooled. They will judge accordingly at the polls in 2015. They will remember that the Minister of Transportation failed in his duty to provide oversight and lacked the humility to shoulder the blame," added Daniel Roy.

The TSB found that a number of factors were involved, including several stemming from negligence on the part of the company and the lack of monitoring and oversight by Transport Canada. The MMA "cut corners" when it came to safety, while Transport Canada did not perform audits "in sufficient depth and frequency."

 

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Clairandrée Cauchy, 514 774-4001, ccauchy@metallos.ca, Communications Officer, United Steel Workers; Alexandre Banville, 514 772-2984, Belvédère Communications Coop de solidarité