Naheed Nenshi wants to talk about railways

Tease the day: Calgary’s mayor grows exasperated after rail bridge failure


Jeff McIntosh, CP

Naheed Nenshi wants to talk about railways, and he’s finished being polite about asking for a conversation. The Calgary mayor’s city continues to cope with the aftermath of major floods—and, yesterday, a train derailment over the city’s Bow River blamed on flood waters that ate away at the bridge’s foundations.

The CP-owned bridge failure had left six cars, most of which were carrying flammable oil products, hanging over the water. That payload was eventually removed, as were the sagging cars. CP later apologized for the incident. But an exasperated Nenshi used the opportunity to fume about how little control cities have over railways.

“How is it we don’t have regulatory authority over this, but it’s my guys down there risking their lives to fix it?” he asked, lighting up Twitter. “We have to have a serious conversation about this. [CP] is a private business, and private businesses are subject to regulation.”

The Globe and Mail wrote that Nenshi’s concerns are echoed in other cities across the land:

Calgary’s current predicament underlines a challenge facing other municipalities, where railway lines cut through the downtown core, leaving local officials little control over schedules, noise, the loads they carry—or the dangers they pose.

So, out of all the madness in Calgary, might the country’s decision makers—spurred on by one of its most popular mayors—have a serious talk about regulation of railways? Doubtful. But Calgary’s mayor has at least proven that he won’t shy away from speaking his mind on a national stage—and show a little emotion, to boot.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s outrage at a CP derailment on a bridge over the Bow River. The National Post fronts BCE’s $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with heavy fines owed by Sunrise Propane, five years after the company was responsible for huge fireballs that evacuated a Toronto community. The Ottawa Citizen leads with stalled attempts to build a new bridge over the Ottawa River in the National Capital Region. iPolitics fronts the significance of gun-registry politics heading into the next federal election. CBC.ca leads with Canadian cities’ inadequate plans to deal with climate change–spurred natural disasters. CTV News leads with BlackBerry’s first-quarter net losses of $84 million. National Newswatch showcases a CBC story about a poll that gives the federal Liberals an edge over the governing Conservatives.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Canada-China. An investment agreement between Canada and China tabled in Parliament last September has gone unratified by cabinet, despite the feds’ initial excitement about the deal. 2. Free speech. The Senate passed a bill that removes Section 13 from the Canadian Human Rights Act. The controversial “hate-speech provisions” were opposed by civil liberties groups.
3. Energy. The Ontario government has received a bid from U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Co. to build two new nuclear reactors in the province, a contract worth $10 billion. 4. Mafia. Giuseppe Bruzzese, a 66-year-old Thunder Bay, Ont., man, is on trial in Italy for consorting with high-level Mafia officials and playing a key role in the Mafia’s Thunder Bay cell.
5. Bangladesh. The United States will impose trade sanctions on Bangladesh, a country that President Barack Obama says hasn’t taken steps to address working conditions in its garment industry. 6. Abortion. Texas Governor Rick Perry says he could re-introduce a bill that would close most abortion clinics in the state—even though a Democratic filibuster effectively killed the bill just this week.

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Naheed Nenshi wants to talk about railways

  1. Benito Mussolini – Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State

    The State broke into many people’s homes yesterday in Alberta and took their private property for no apparent reason but, of course, our msm is focused on train schedules and other ephemera. We live in fascist country, the police can enter our homes and seize our property for no reason and Canadian journos are doing God knows what.

    The biggest looters in Alberta over the past few days is the RCMP and we can rely on msm to not make it much of an issue. The union that journalists belong to, it recently merged with CAW to form a new union known as Unifor ,and if journalists are looking for new motto to go along with their new masters, it should be ” We know nothing, we see nothing, and we say nothing.”

    Do Canadian journos ignore what public servants are doing because both groups belong to unions – journos don’t want to make life difficult for their comrades in the labour movement – or is the msm mostly silent on public policy issues because of the tens of millions of $$$ they receive from government and they don’t want to jeopardize their subsidies?

    • Please, please resume taking your meds.

    • Christ, spin much? I mean, it’s not like the actual story isn’t bad already, but then here you come and very carefully avoid giving the full story.

      IN short, the RCMP went into people’s houses to assess dangers to life and limb and to seek out people who refused to obey the mandatory evacuation orders, and in the process, got pets out and took out any guns that were not secured according to the law.

      • Firstly, I think it’s outrageous that the RCMP can break into private residences to determine if someone is breaking an evacuation order. What’s the difference between that and breaking into you home at any other time to determine if you’re breaking any law?

        Secondly, it’s unacceptable that they’d use that opportunity to then seize private property.

        And thirdly, can you provide your source of the claim that they were only taking guns that “were not secured according to the law.”

        • An RCMP official said any guns removed from homes were not properly stored. Police officers were inspecting several homes to look for flood victims, pets and anything that might pose a threat to returning residents.

          RCMP spokeswoman Const. Francine Hennelly said when officers entered homes to search for people, “if we identified any pets or hazards, we would respond accordingly.”

          “We seized any firearms that were noted that were in plain view,” she said. “We seized what we saw that could potentially be a hazard.

          “Anything properly stored in gun lockers was left.”

          The difference is the state of emergency. They weren’t breaking in just to see if someone was breaking the law, they were breaking in because anyone who was breaking the law was putting themselves in danger.

          And no, they weren’t just seizing private property, they were seizing guns that were not properly stored, and so could prove a hazard.

          • Thanks. The Edmonton Journal piece I read didn’t bother to report that detail.

          • The exact same situations existed in neighborhoods in Calgary. The difference….Nenshi didn’t want police or utilities to enter unless they received a call from the owners requesting them rescue missing family or pets. For all other homes, the owners were attendance when they entered and unlocked the doors for them and invited them in.

          • Yes, but from what I’ve heard, compliance with Calgary’s evacuation orders have been nothing short of amazing. Very little resistance or arguing.

            It seems that High River isn’t so much the case, so there’s a valid concern as to whether people have gotten themselves into danger.

          • My elderly neighbors did not evacuate and neither did the lady next door to them. The Calgary city police said that although the evacuation was mandatory, they could not force anyone to leave. People did call with concerns when they couldn’t reach family who didn’t evacuate because power was turned off. They did find one woman dead in an apartment in downtown Calgary but her family asked police to go there as no could reach her. I am not sure about compliance differences but the residence in High River definitely have a lot more experience with flooding than we do in Calgary…that is with the exception of those who live along the Elbow River in a very affluent neighborhood. Their property floods regularly.

        • lenny, I think the police probably did what they thought was a good thing BUT it turned out not to be so good in the end. Police in Calgary did not to this. Due to the sheer size of the number of houses evacuated and damaged in Calgary, 75,000 homes v. 4,500 in High River, police could never have entered homes in Calgary with a lock smith on their own. What they did instead was wait to be asked to enter if people reported a family missing or if they needed a pet rescued. Utility workers, etc. wanted the owners present. They insisted on it in my neighborhood. They didn’t show up with a lock smith, they asked you to come with your key.

      • David Akin on Twitter: They did not search house to house. The RCMP’s own video shows them cruising by whole neighbourhoods and singling out homes.

        Why is The State only worried about gun owners health and well being – aren’t the pets of non-gun owners worth saving, thwim? Non gun owners should be outraged, apparently, because their homes were not broken into.

        • Oh. Good. That makes it better then. I was wondering why they’d bother searching house to house when a lot of high river residents had registered with the town that they were out. This explains that. They didn’t.

      • BS. They used it as an excuse to break in without cause, raid and invade peoples homes. I wonder how much unaccounted for things are missing besides guns? You never know what is in granny’s underwear drawer.

        Funny, they were secured in a locked house. By your definition cops too violate the law as with a crow bard I can get to munitions stored in a police cruisers trunk pretty quick. After all, it isn’t very secure if you are a criminal invading peoples property.

        Perhaps instead of looting and snooping in peoples homes and drawers, they should have been on the corner watching for suspicious behave like real looters, that is protect and not invade.

        Who knows, CSIS or a old registry list was probably circulating and so many as to obfuscate a targeted search.

        Don’t worry, no police will be reprimanded, as they didn’t offend government. As #1 priority of RCMP is to not protect you, but to protect government.

        • Wow.. so how many rolls of tinfoil does it take to make your hat?

  2. Nenshi is a loud mouthed leftist lout.

    • Too much redundancy. Just call him one of those things.
      The rest will follow … by association. We’ll figure it out.

  3. I am quite surprised to read that the CP-owned bridge failure had left six cars, most of which were carrying flammable oil products, hanging over the water. The problem requires attention and care together. It needs good regulation of railways
    Sony Fans

  4. Nenshi should worry about other things our governments want to bury.

    Tacky questions of why so many city bilge pumps failed or were not working. Why was Alberta dam and flood control so unprepared and releasing too much water at peek? Why was Alberta not dredging silt from the Bow to improve flow or just easier to ignore it?

    For example, a lot of dams upstream exist and were built to control these floods. But to be effective they need to be kept at lower levels in advance, releasing water in dryer times as to be able to hold back more water in wet periods. Primary reason for these is water flow control. But it obviously FAILED.

    Neshi also should look at raw sewage as that can make a problem even worse. What was the city dumping raw onto the Bow?

    But hey, our politicians would love to blame deflect to one rail bridge….gets the critical thinkers redirected. But the reality is there were lots of issues. But Nenshi gets so easily side tracked or is it just standard blame others so they blame you less?

  5. It’s a legitimate question as to why the rail cars were left on the bridge under any conditions let alone foreseeable dangerous ones.
    As for the guns. What’s big deal? Go pick them up. At least they didn’t disappear for criminal purposes. I am curious though as to what constituted improper storage in many cases.

    • I believe the bridge started giving away (falling) as the train was proceeding over it. The driver of the train became concerned that if he continued to move, the whole bridge would give way and the entire train would fall in the Bow river. He stopped, unhooked the six cars (5 loaded and 1 empty) that were on the sagging part of the bridge and called emergency services for help. Then emergency services had to secure the cars to cranes and empty the contents of the cars before they could tow them off the failing railway bridge. The entire problem stemmed from CP’s failure to do a thorough assessment of the bridge’s viability after raging waters weakened the bridge’s foundation. Apparently, Nenshi found out this bridge was not secured in bedrock like other bridges in the area are. CP could only have evaluated the structure if they had sent down a diver and they didn’t do that but they still went ahead sending fully loaded trains over the bridge.
      As for the guns….the people are not that pleased that police used locks smiths to enter their homes. I don’t think they completely believe that the police were looking for abandoned pets and people. The seizing of the guns makes them even more suspicious. They haven’t told us what constituted improper storage but given that many people who had any notice would move important valuables to higher ground, the guns might have been out of locked cases.
      I don’t believe we have enough information at this point to assess what happened.

  6. I am so tired of politicians wanting to “have conversations”.

    • What would you prefer? They just shoot someone?

      • It’s the terminology or didn’t you get that?

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