Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse…

For a couple of years, Canadians for Accountability has been raising the issue of problems surrounding Safety Management System or SMS.  SMS is a “voluntary”, although the government will say “mandated”, reporting system for the safety of certain forms of transportation in Canada.  In essence it allows rail and air operators to do their own safety checking procedures and send the paper work to Transport Canada (TC).  The inspectors at TC make sure that all the boxes are filled in correctly, not that the inspection was done correctly!

The government will not admit it but the reason behind SMS was to allow TC to cut their budgets for inspections and inspectors.  We average, belive it or not, about one rail incident PER DAY in Canada.  Most of them are related to issues that should be part of safety inspections.  Airlines fair better under SMS than rail carriers because they have very large maintenance crews, but SMS is being extended to small carriers and bush fleets who do not have a culture of self examination (air minutes mean profit…. downtime means loss).

Now the government has decided to cut the inspection budget of TC again.  See: <http://globalnews.ca/news/1916438/funding-slashed-for-all-safety-programs-at-transport-canada>.

Our work is never done.  … Read the rest

Hiring veterans not a priority for O’Toole

by Sean Bruyea
   For the first time in eight decades, issues affecting Canada’s military veterans issues are featured prominently in an election.
   With so much at stake, why would government yet again mess up another issue with veterans: priority hiring into the federal public service? Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole, in another installment of government hype on the treatment of veterans, provided this statement during the July 2015 changes to priority hire veterans: “The Government of Canada is keeping its commitment to help military veterans thrive while making the transition to civilian life.”
   Prior to these changes, only medically-released members could have one chance to be priority hired. Serving members weren’t allowed to access internal competitions, representing 88 per cent of public service job openings. Changes now allow Canadian Forces members to access internal competitions but with no priority placement. Non-medically released veterans can have priority accessing only external jobs, representing the remaining 12 per cent of competitions. After World War II, all overseas veterans received preference in all competitions, the injured having the highest preference, no time limits, and multiple attempts.
   Time will tell if priority-hiring amendments are working, but are the minister, his department, and the rest of the civil service helping veterans “thrive”?… Read the rest

Accountability and the 2015 election

This 2015 election has been the longest one in modern Canadian history.  The reason the Conservatives called for such a long writ period was supposedly because there were serious issues that needed a full airing.

But a Google search for any discussion of the issue of Accountability shows nothing, zilch, nada.  There is not a stitch of discussion from any party concerning this very important issue.  Oh, there are platitudes being heaped on the quality and value of our public servants and candidates fall over each other to pat veterans on the head like puppies but where is the serious discussions of the issue that affects us all?

Where is the debate on muzzling of scientists, closure of important science libraries, closure of Veterans services, the safety of our food, and on and on.  Where is the discussion on rail safety (remember Lac Magantic?)?  Where is the discussion about real protection for whistleblowers, not the toothless legislation we currently have?  Where is the discussion about renewing the senior levels of the Public Service to bring in fresh blood and new ideas rather than continuing with the transportable hacks that float from department to department waiting for retirement?

Canadians need to understand that politicians work for us.  … Read the rest