u Preventable death on the Hudson Bay line Continued from page 1

propane), which was stable. Diesel fuel leaked from the locomotives as a result of the crash. “The short story is that the Con-

ductor died on the scene shortly after 0100 on September 16. The Locomo- tive Engineer was cut free from the lo- comotive shortly after and eventually taken to Winnipeg in critical condi- tion. He has life altering injuries.” The letter goes on to say: “The wreckage of the train was dis-

covered entirely by chance by a heli- copter crew coming to pick up a pros- pector. This was two hours after the derailment. No one, outside of the trapped and injured crew members, knew that anything untoward had oc- curred until a fluke observation by the helicopter crew. No one was coming to help them or even aware that they needed help. “The helicopter picked up the pros- pecting

crew and returned to the

wreck site, using incredible skill to set down on a sandbar approximately 50 meters away. The prospector, his as- sistant, and one member of the flight crew climbed through the bush and wreckage to see if anyone was there. The prospector heard the shouts of the injured crew members and observed a hand sticking out of the window. He climbed down to the crushed locomo- tive and found the two men, trapped, injured, but alive. The others climbed on top of the wreckage, trying to find higher ground and cell service. Some- where around 1730 – two hours after the crash – the outside world became

The Hudson Bay Railway under construction, circa 1920. Source: Archives of Mani- toba, Transportation - Railway.

aware of the critically injured people in need of help.” So far, the story is one of heroism by

ordinary men. But now comes the hard part. The pilot headed back to Ponton, a flag stop on the Via Rail service, to pick up a couple of RCMP officers. He dropped them off at the train wreck, then flew off again to obtain medical aid and emergency supplies. “Paramedics, despite being in Pon- ton, were not allowed to attend the wreck and administer emergency treat- ment to the injured crew, apparently due to concerns about diesel fuel leak- age,” continued the letter. “Upon re- turn to Ponton, the crew sought blan- kets, hot packs, water and medicine to bring back to make the injured crew

members more comfortable. They were not permitted to take any medi- cine or the paramedics to the scene. The helicopter crew delivered the care package and assured the injured crew members that help was on the way.’ Eventually, a crew of firefighters ar- rived from Thompson and extricated the men. Unfortunately, the autopsy revealed that the conductor had bled out from a broken bone during those long hours of indecision and fear of the diesel spill by the RCMP, who are supposed to be the first responders we rely on to keep us safe.

This is a shocking story that sets the concept of service on its head. If first responders’ primary line of duty is to stay out of danger, what is the point of

having them? The helicopter rescuers, acting out of sheer human compas- sion, put the men in the wreck ahead of their own concerns. They aren’t paid to do this. The police are. Shocking as this story is, it mirrors other recent reports of those in service being instructed not to do the very jobs they were hire to do in fear for their personal safety. In Winnipeg, so-called “security” staff stands by as thieves openly rob government liquor stores because the guards have been instructed not to in- tervene in the name of their personal safety. So why are they there? We could save a lot of money without them and since they can do nothing, there is no point in paying them. The commission brags about adding high definition cameras to do the job – fine. No pay cheques. “Security guards at liquor marts are trained to detect and deter theft by ap- proaching people they think may be stealing, speak with them and discour- age them from leaving the store with the product,” an MLL release said. Heck. Anyone can do that.

Going back to the railway tragedy, the union asks for a full inquiry into what happened and concludes, “We truly believe that improved processes may have either prevented this inci- dent or, at the very least, ensured that critical medical attention reached these two workers, easing their suffering and perhaps making it possible for a 38-year-old man to still be with us.” Amen.

Transit just like shingles – it doesn’t care Lifestyles staff

gerous way some Transit drivers are operating buses. She is not alone. We have heard these complaints from other frequent Transit users and not all of them are seniors, although the rough driving has potentially the most serious consequences for older people. Virginia writes, “Why are drivers


now driving faster having to hit the brakes to stop! As a passenger, my concern is for safety, especially when our winter driving conditions begin. Currently passengers are hardly seat- ed or able to move to the back and – hang on!!” She goes on to comment

irginia Griffiths contacted Lifestyles 55 to provide some information about the dan-

their schedules and they have to drive faster to keep up!”

She points to buses on routes 11, 21, 22, 24, 66, and 95. Virginia sent the same information to the mayor’s office, with the mes- sage, “Please look into this situation. I’d appreciate hearing your proactive response.”

Her email was forwarded it to Tran- sit and Virginia was rewarded with the following response: Good morning Ms. Griffiths, The Mayor’s office has forwarded both

that “using the brakes hard will in- crease maintenance costs. I was mar- ried to truck driver,” who kept her informed on these matters, she says. Virginia has noticed increases in this

rough driving over the past month. “As a regular rider,” she says, “I have asked the drivers what’s going on and they claim there has been a change in

of your emails regarding Transit bus op- erators’ manner of driving to Winnipeg Transit for a response.

Thank you for bring your concern for- ward. As part of the hiring process, bus operators undergo an extensive training period. If required an operator can be sent back for re-training on any aspect of their job performance which would

include how they operate their vehicle. Additionally,

routine follow ups are

conducted for all bus operators by our qualified instructors from our Training Department which again would include how they are operating our vehicles. If you encounter a situation where you feel our employees are not operating their vehicle safely, I would encourage you to send in a report via 311 so we can prop- erly identify and follow up with the em- ployee in question. Thank you again for bringing your concern forward. Regards, Larry Knowles

Customer Service Supervisor Client Services, Winnipeg Transit City of Winnipeg Doesn’t say much, does it? Virginia has already pointed out the routes. It’s up to Transit to do some investi- gating. It seems that just like shingles, Transit doesn’t care!

Friends of CMHR board member and former senator gives and receives honours involved with

Vim Kochar. Vim is important to Winnipeg even


though he is from Toronto, because he is one of the key persons who raises funds for our beautiful museum, the Canadian Centre for Human Rights. He has been a member of the board of directors for the Friends of the CMHR since 2011. He earned his position on this board as he earned his place in the senate, through hard work and support for the commu- nity. Vim became the first Indo-Canadian senator in 2010. Vom’s human rights credentials are

rooted in his work for people with dis- abilities. Back in 1984, he was instrumen- tal in using his Rotary Club membership to help create the Cheshire Home Foun- dation in Toronto, which is billed as “ the


wo important events took place in October, both of them centred on a former senator, the Honourable

only communication-adapted, barrier- free apartment complex in North Ameri- ca designed and built specifically for peo- ple who are deaf-blind”. Continuing to support the disabled, Vim’s fundraising expertise led to the now annual Great Val- entine Gala held first in February 1984. Over 1,200 people attended and raised $239,000 (equal to $580,000 today). To deal with this windfall, Vim founded the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons in 1987. Since then, with Vim as the founding and continuing chair, the Foundation has raised over $21 million. The Foundation also operates the Ca-

nadian Disability Hall of Fame which holds a luncheon each year in Toronto to induct a new member to commemorate the work they have done for persons with disabilities. This year was the 25th year and to celebrate, there were three induct-

ees: former Olympian and NHL hockey player James G. Kyte, who is deaf and who has used his experience to found a hockey school for the deaf among other charitable

endeavours to support the

hearing impaired; Alvin Law, who is armless but nonetheless learned to play the saxophone using his feet and is a best- selling author who wrote Laws of Life. . . Five Steps to Overcoming Anything (he has also helped raise more than $175 million to help children with disabilities); and finally, the former Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, whose government changed the way the disabled are treated in Canada. Brian Mulroney appointed the first minister Responsible for Disabled Per- sons, which ensured there was an advocate for the disabled at every decision-making meeting. His government also created the Disabled Persons’ Participation Program,

which substantially increased support for consumer organizations

disabled people. It added a provision to broaden the availability of disability-relat- ed deductions for income tax purposes. The other event took place here in

Winnipeg at Fort Garry Place on Octo- ber 19, when this remarkable octogenar- ian’s own community had an opportunity to recognize his service and dedication by awarding Vim Kochar a Life-Time Achievement Award, the highest honour given by the India Canada Culture and Heritage Association Inc. Vim takes his place alongside the likes of Dr. Naranjan S. Dhalla, who is a world leader in heart research.

Hats off to all the above distinguished Canadians who work quietly behind the scenes to make our lives better, but spe- cial thanks to Vim Kochar, Torontonian, who is doing so much for Winnipeg.

November 2018

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