Protests Coast To Coast, And Even Abroad Meet The Final Phase Of The Lac-Mégantic Trial

Protests Coast To Coast, And Even Abroad Meet The Final Phase Of The Lac-Mégantic Trial

http://hardingdefense.org/2018/01/08/protests-coast-to-coast-and-even-ab...

Richard LabrieTom Harding
The most important rail safety trial of our time will soon be in the hands of the jury. They are tasked with the difficult decision of whether or not to hold rail workers accountable for actions of their employers because it’s plain that there will be no other accountability, despite what is now a matter of public record.

The wrong people are on trial. Check out this interview with RCI, Radio Canada International.

The stakes are high. But fortunately, many people across North America are not fooled by the Crown’s phony veneer of holding people personally accountable for the tragedy. No such real personal accountability will ever be made, since the government made it’s decision to target only the last persons in a danger chain that continues across every railroad to this moment.

On January 4th and 5th, in cities across America, people took their call for real rail safety, No More Lac-Mégantics and opposition to scapegoating workers to Canadian consulates as far away as Sao Paulo, Brazil. In several cases, they had to experience severe weather but came out anyway, knowing how important this case is. Active rail workers, Union members, working class militants, rail and other retirees protested in San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Washington DC and Minneapolis. Solidarity activists, Climate Change fighters, volatile oil opponents and environmental activists turned out their support to add their voices to the protests and delivering notice to the Canadian government that justice and rail safety cannot be served by framing up rail workers for the conditions they are forced, with government complicity, to work under. In some cities, they delivered printed statements and letters to consular officials.

ChicagoMinneapolis
Members of rail unions, Railroad Workers United, the United Electrical workers, Communication Workers of America and others were joined by the Workers Solidarity Action Network, the Backbone Campaign, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and many others stood up to oppose scapegoating and stand with the community of Lac-Mégantic, whose activists have an ongoing fight for the safety of their town more than 4 years after the government appointed scapegoats have had no role.

These stand up people across the country have taken their time, money and energy into the street and to the Canadian consulates because they know that their own concerns, health and safety are at stake in the outcome of the Lac-Mégantic trial.

In the court room in Sherbrooke Quebec, one of the scapegoated rail workers, Tom Harding, was able to see photographs of the protests, letting them know they are not alone in the fight for actual accountability.

Seattle
On Monday, January 8, 2018, attorney Charles Shearson has begun presenting the defense of Tom Harding. That defense will be a summary of the evidence presented by the Crown prosecutors in their attempt to demonize Tom Harding as the criminally negligent cause of the wreck that nearly destroyed Lac-Mégantic and killed 47 outright. It should be noteworthy that the defense has made the determination that the facts supporting acquittal of Harding are already in evidence having been made by the Crown itself.

Sao Paulo, Brazil
The case will go to the jury this week. A conviction of one or both of the scapegoated rail workers is the signal the rail industry across the continent has been waiting for…a signal that they are free to conduct any and all of the dangerous practices and policies documented in the wreck of Lac-Mégantic, without any fear of liability. Some, like the actual policy makers and owners of the Montreal Maine and Atlantic (MMA), who are still free and running railroads around the world will breathe even easier as they take their profits; knowing that what they did will never have consequences for them.

Chicago
People are watching this trial all over the world. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The activists who braved the cold last week to deliver the message that we are all watching will be talking in the coming weeks, along with their Canadian counterparts, about the next necessary steps that we must take if we are truly going to see No More Lac-Mégantics!

Canadian USW Rail Workers Harding & Labrie Are Not Guilty! Drop The Charges NOW! Rally In SF
https://youtu.be/bFawXtH2C-k
A solidarity rally was held at the San Francisco Canadian Consulate on January 4, 2018 to demand that charges be dropped against MMA USW union railroad workers Tom Harding and Richard Labrie for the deaths of 47 people in the Lac-Mégantic train wreck. The highly flammable cargo on the train cars was only manned by one worker and the evidence at the trial has shown that there were not proper safety measures in place. The company MMA and the Canadian government according to speakers is now scapegoating the workers. The Canadian government like the US government has pushed deregulation and 1 person crews being pushed by the rail owners and the speakers charged this was the real reason for this and other rail disasters in Canada and the US. A letter calling for the dropping of the charges was delivered to the Canadian Consulate.
The speakers also discussed the growing rail wrecks and dangerous transportation system in the United States and this was connected to similar efforts to downsize the staffing of the trains and deregulation. Speakers included trade unionists from SMART Local 1741 SF Bus Drivers, SEIU 1021 Social And Economic Justice Committee, Labor Council For Latin American Advancement Sacramento Chapter and members of Railroad Workers United RWU and Workers Solidarity Action Network WSAN. Environmental activists also attended and spoke.
This was an international day of solidarity and there were also support actions in Chicago, Seattle, DC and in Sao Paulo, Brazil at Canadian consulates and embassies.
Additional media:
https://soundcloud.com/workweek-radio/ww12-26-17-campaign-for-railroad-w...
http://railroadworkersunited.org/lac-megantic/
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/505b96a8c4aa40a37a143c49/t/5814d3...
http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/montreal/mma-lac-megantic-trial-jonat...
http://www.themilitant.com/2015/7905/790553.html
http://www.cbc.ca/…/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begins-sher…
http://www.newswire.ca/…/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-…
https://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=39797
http://hardingdefense.org
http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/steelworkers-local-gives-70000-to-r...
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/lac-megantic-criminal-trial-begin...
http://jordanbarab.com/confinedspace/2017/10/24/lac-megantic-trial/
For further information on the case:
Harding Defense Committee
http://hardingdefense.org
Railroad Workers United
www.railroadworkersunited.org
Workers Solidarity Action Network
www.workerssolidarityactionnetwork.org
Production of Labor Video Project
www.laborvideo.org