Naheed Nenshi wants to talk about railways

Tease the day: Calgary's mayor grows exasperated after rail bridge failure

Jeff McIntosh, CP

Naheed Nenshi wants to talk about railways, and he’s finished being polite about asking for a conversation. The Calgary mayor’s city continues to cope with the aftermath of major floods—and, yesterday, a train derailment over the city’s Bow River blamed on flood waters that ate away at the bridge’s foundations.

The CP-owned bridge failure had left six cars, most of which were carrying flammable oil products, hanging over the water. That payload was eventually removed, as were the sagging cars. CP later apologized for the incident. But an exasperated Nenshi used the opportunity to fume about how little control cities have over railways.

“How is it we don’t have regulatory authority over this, but it’s my guys down there risking their lives to fix it?” he asked, lighting up Twitter. “We have to have a serious conversation about this. [CP] is a private business, and private businesses are subject to regulation.”

The Globe and Mail wrote that Nenshi’s concerns are echoed in other cities across the land:

Calgary’s current predicament underlines a challenge facing other municipalities, where railway lines cut through the downtown core, leaving local officials little control over schedules, noise, the loads they carry—or the dangers they pose.

So, out of all the madness in Calgary, might the country’s decision makers—spurred on by one of its most popular mayors—have a serious talk about regulation of railways? Doubtful. But Calgary’s mayor has at least proven that he won’t shy away from speaking his mind on a national stage—and show a little emotion, to boot.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s outrage at a CP derailment on a bridge over the Bow River. The National Post fronts BCE’s $3.4-billion takeover of Astral Media. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with heavy fines owed by Sunrise Propane, five years after the company was responsible for huge fireballs that evacuated a Toronto community. The Ottawa Citizen leads with stalled attempts to build a new bridge over the Ottawa River in the National Capital Region. iPolitics fronts the significance of gun-registry politics heading into the next federal election. leads with Canadian cities’ inadequate plans to deal with climate change–spurred natural disasters. CTV News leads with BlackBerry’s first-quarter net losses of $84 million. National Newswatch showcases a CBC story about a poll that gives the federal Liberals an edge over the governing Conservatives.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Canada-China. An investment agreement between Canada and China tabled in Parliament last September has gone unratified by cabinet, despite the feds’ initial excitement about the deal. 2. Free speech. The Senate passed a bill that removes Section 13 from the Canadian Human Rights Act. The controversial “hate-speech provisions” were opposed by civil liberties groups.
3. Energy. The Ontario government has received a bid from U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Co. to build two new nuclear reactors in the province, a contract worth $10 billion. 4. Mafia. Giuseppe Bruzzese, a 66-year-old Thunder Bay, Ont., man, is on trial in Italy for consorting with high-level Mafia officials and playing a key role in the Mafia’s Thunder Bay cell.
5. Bangladesh. The United States will impose trade sanctions on Bangladesh, a country that President Barack Obama says hasn’t taken steps to address working conditions in its garment industry. 6. Abortion. Texas Governor Rick Perry says he could re-introduce a bill that would close most abortion clinics in the state—even though a Democratic filibuster effectively killed the bill just this week.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.