Thoughts while visiting Revelstoke

Just minutes from the busy Trans Canada highway in Revelstoke BC, there is a beautiful place by the river, that is home to a massive stone memorial for railway workers killed on the job. Revelstoke is a big railway town, steeped in the history of our province, and also the tragedy of workers who have given their lives on the railway.

I visited the memorial on June 28, where Bill Brehl, President of Teamsters Canada, TCRC-MWED, paid tribute to fallen comrades and called for greater awareness and attention to the lack of safety in this industry. You could feel the emotion in the air as Bill and his members recalled the names and stories surrounding the deaths of their fellow workers over the past few years. A recent Parliamentary Committee studied this issue and issued a report calling on the federal government to take stronger action. MP Brian Masse, our NDP Transport critic, believes the Committee’s report doesn’t go far enough and called for greater regulatory oversight by Transport Canada. I certainly agree with that.

Being in the hot summer sun in Revelstoke, with mountains all around, watching the trains go by on their long journey to and from the west coast is a very Canadian experience. Its hard to visualize how dangerous this work is and how many workers suffer injury and death, even today.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the spin cycle of Ottawa politics and the intrigue and speculation that goes on. So I remember places like this, and the need for tough rules to protect the health and lives of the people who make Canada work.