Archive for September, 2014

Not a cover-up, but a cover over

September 29, 2014

by Jack Locke

Well, well, well. What a difference a weekend makes.

Last week, I had requested a list of names of those persons the Transportation Act review had invited to make submissions to their panel. After all, the review’s website said: “The official consultation process will commence in the upcoming weeks, at which time the Chair of the Canada Transportation Act review will formally invite submissions.”

The first reply received by email from the review’s secretariat said, “The Secretariat has over 1800 stakeholders with interests in the Canada Transportation Act Review.”  Needless to say, the 1,800 stakeholders had not been invited, at least not formally. Their second reply clarified the situation.

“No specific parties were sent invitations,” said the second email reply. They withheld that small detail from their first reply. Canadians have been formally invited, but not specifically invited. Based on the government’s first email, I presumed that the government was covering up information, rather than merely misleading me.

Thus, I thank the review secretariat for making me feel foolish. It does not bode well for a high-priced government tribunal to provide misleading information. It does not bode well for a transportation critic to assume he can get a straight answer.






Cover it up Conservatives*

September 27, 2014

*This story has been updated at Not a Cover-Up, But a Cover Over, to correct a small detail.

by Jack Locke

They are artists in the art of cover ups.

When three Montreal-area teens were struck and killed by a VIA Rail train on October 31, 2010, there were no charges laid against the train operator. As reported in The Turcot Train Tragedy, questions were raised about whether the train was speeding and whether it was being driven in a safe and legal manner. Despite these questions, the federal government and three successive Conservative Party transport ministers refused to investigate deeper. All my pleas to Lisa Raitt, Denis Lebel, and Chuck Strahl were given short shrift.

Chuck Strahl, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

Chuck Strahl, former Minister of Transport.


Former Transport Minister Denis Lebel.

Current Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.









Nearly a year after the Lac Megantic train tragedy killed 47 people, Minister Raitt appointed a Transportation Act Review. Amongst other things, the review will hear submissions on all aspects of transportation in Canada, including, “how safety and well-being concerns related to rail transportation (including the movement of dangerous goods) through communities can be addressed.”

According to the review secretariat, 1,800 people and organizations were invited to make submissions.

“The Secretariat has over 1,800 stakeholders with interests in the Canada Transportation Act Review,” wrote the government in an email. However, people like myself, who have expressed concerns over the past three years were not invited to make submissions.

When I requested a list of those 1,800 invitees, the government responded that I would not receive a list.

“Our webiste(sic) has all the pertinent information from the Mandate of the Review to the Discussion Paper to how to send in a Submission.

“As such, our communication media is our website,” wrote the government secretariat.

It leads me to conclude that those who have been invited are those who are agreeable to the government, and moreover that the government has no interest in protecting the safety and security of Canadians.







First letter to Canada’s Transportation Act Review

September 26, 2014

When the Canadian government announced it was holding a review of the Transportation Act and that the chair, David Emerson, had invited some Canadians to make submissions, I wondered why I hadn’t been asked. After all, I had been writing letters to Transport Minister Chuck Strahl, his successor Denis Lebel, and his successor Lisa Raitt. Obviously, they were aware of my interest in Transportation, particularly rail safety. I concluded they must have me on another list, the one that doesn’t get invited to submit. So here is the letter I wrote to the Transportation Act Review Secretariat Executive Director on Sept 25, 2014:

Dear Sir,

I understand that the Chair of the Canada Transportation Act Review invited a number of individuals or organizations to make submissions to this review. I wish to ask if I may receive:

1. A list of those parties who were invited to submit; and

2. A generic copy of the invitation issued.

I thank you for your attention to this request and would appreciate this information at your earliest convenience, preferably by email.

Yours truly,
Jack Locke



Transportation Act Review Hides Info

September 26, 2014

by Jack Locke

It was a simple request.

Canada’s Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, commissioned a review of the Transportation Act on June 25, 2014. The Chair, David Emerson, issued invitations to stakeholders to make submissions to the review panel. I asked for a list of names of those who were sent invitations and a copy of the generic invitation.

The response from the government Secretariat said, “The Secretariat has over 1800 stakeholders with interests in the Canada Transportation Act Review. As such, our communication media is our website,

Our website has all the pertinent information from the Mandate of the Review to the Discussion Paper to how to send in a Submission.”

The reply did not provide me with the information requested, but more troubling is that they tried to give me the run-around. Big disappointment. I have requested the information one more time. Let’s hope they get the message.





The Final Frontier

September 25, 2014

Into space we gallivant gallantly
To chase a galactic orbituary.

My Preferred Pet Is Not A Purebred

September 24, 2014

by Jack Locke

One day I will get a doggerel

Not a purebred, but a mongerel.


September 20, 2014

PK Subban and PK Peladeau

Dare not compare to PK Page though.

A Thistle in the Aye

September 19, 2014

In Scotland voters voted No and Yes /

But for the Aye they voted less.

POEM: Statement by Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC, on paper bill fees

September 5, 2014

By Jack J. Locke

August 28, 2014 – Ottawa-Gatineau

“Today, the two CRTC Vice-Chairpersons hosted a meeting

albeit fleeting

with nearly a dozen telecommunications and broadcasting distribution companies,

including the largest communication companies in the country, on paper bill fees.

The Vice-Chairpersons have reported back to their colleagues, including

myself, on today’s outcomes. Aha! colluding.

While the companies agreed to adopt consistent exemptions to such fees,

they were unable to reach a consensus to eliminate them entirely. Oh PLEASE!

Many Canadians who will not benefit from the exemptions will be

disappointed with the outcome so far. Yes we will be Philby.

Finally, I would like to commend Cogeco Cable,

for they were able

along with MTS Allstream, SaskTel and Shaw Communications for not charging their customers for paper bills.

The others–double dipping devills.

This business decision ensures that their customers can make

reasonable and informed choices about how they are billed for their communication services. (Mistake)

Canadians should keep this in mind when they select a service provider.”

As the crappy gap between them and us grows wider.

Damn, I’m a CRTC critic

September 5, 2014

A recent CP newsstory suggested the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) was questioning the right of big telecom companies to charge a fee for providing paper bills.

Telecoms reach paper bill fee exemption plan, but CRTC says it’s not good enough

That’s not what the CRTC told me in 2012. They wrote in an email: “In a competitive marketplace, the CRTC does not interfere with day-to-day operations such as retail rates, equipment, billing and marketing, quality of service and customer relations. These are the very features that may set one competitor apart from the others and factor into a consumer’s decision to choose one provider over another for some or all of their communication needs.”

The full email can be read HERE.

My complaint was given the bum’s rush, so to speak. So nice to see they’ve done an about face. But it galls me to be first shafted by Bell, then by the CRTC. Oh Canada.