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Teamsters Canada calls for independent police investigation into Field derailment

(Source: Teamsters Canada press release, January 27, 2020)

MONTREAL — Following allegations of a cover-up by the Canadian Pacific Police Service (CPPS) in relation to the Field derailment, the Teamsters are calling for an independent RCMP investigation into the deadly rail disaster. The union is also reiterating its call for the federal government to abolish corporate police forces.

Yesterday, the CBC’s The Fifth Estate revealed that the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) conducted its own criminal investigation into the derailment via their fully authorized corporate police force, the CPPS.

The show featured an interview with a former CPPS officer who alleged that the company prevented him from obtaining key witness accounts, withheld evidence and ordered officers to keep the investigation narrowly focused on the crew.

“Three of our brothers died in that derailment. If CP has nothing to hide, they should welcome an outside investigation for the sake of the families and all those affected by this disaster,” said the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte.

“Moreover, corporate police forces have no place in the modern world. It is absurd that a company should be able to criminally investigate itself. They’ll never find themselves guilty of anything,” added Laporte. “We once again call on the government of Canada to abolish all forms of private policing.”

The program also uncovered evidence of maintenance problems and a history of derailments on the line where the tragedy occurred. After the derailment, Transport Canada ordered that all railway companies must use handbrakes when trains are stopped on a mountain grade after an emergency use of their air brakes.

“Given the controversy surrounding the criminal investigation into this tragedy, it’s obvious that we must involve the RCMP. Every effort must be made to uncover the root causes and to ensure this never happens again,” said the president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), Lyndon Isaak.

Three members of the TCRC died in the February 4, 2019 derailment near Field, BC. The two-kilometer grain train ran away downhill, eventually falling more than 60 meters from a bridge, after its air brake system failed. The names of the victims were Dylan Paradis, Andrew Dockrell and Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer.

Teamsters Canada represents close to 125,000 workers across the country, including over 16,000 workers in the rail industry. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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