Statement from the Alberta Federation of Labour
For Immediate Release
Jan. 28, 2020
EDMONTON - Back in February, 2019 the brakes of a 99-car grain train failed and the train suddenly started rolling on its own, gradually picking up speed until it eventually crashed. Engineer Andrew Dockrell died instantly, conductor Dylan Paradis was crushed to death, and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer died on the scene after being thrown from the wreck into a nearby frozen river.
Recently, the CBC's The Fifth Estate conducted a seven-month investigation into these deaths shedding light on a number of questions still left regarding how these three Calgary workers were killed and who is responsible.
The facts leading to this event have slowly been pieced together. Notably, that many hazards and known issues were ignored that night under pressure from Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) management to keep the trains moving - including a nearly identical issue the day before this deadly crash at the same spot.Andrew Dockrell even filled out a safety hazard report documenting the known brake problem in cold weather. Still, CP Rail did not change their practices or policies to address this known safety issue.
Almost a year later, the deaths of these workers have yet to be fully investigated by an independent body to determine if there is any criminal liability on behalf of CP Rail. Rather, CP Police Service, a police service directly employed by CP Rail, conducted a flawed investigation into the deaths. The investigation from the outset was narrowly focused on the three workers killed and their actions while ignoring the role CP Rail and management played. When investigators started asking for more evidence from the company, CP Rail shut down the investigation and ordered their police officers to stop investigating.
The Alberta Federation of Labour demands that an independent criminal investigation into CP Rail be undertaken immediately under the Westray Act of the Canadian Criminal Code. All employers have a duty to ensure work is safe for workers and the public. Every worker deserves to make it home at the end of a shift. If an employer is criminally negligent in their duty and they kill a worker, they deserve to go to jail.
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