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lac megantic explosion
Sometimes the worst of times may be the best of times in disguise. I repeat the caveat: sometimes. Case in point, let's look at four very different mayors from across Canada: Gérald Tremblay, Rob Ford, Naheed Nenshi, and Colette Roy-Laroche. They all faced different types of crises this summer, and their responses defined them in the public eye.
We'll never know what might have been, and neither will the residents of Lac-Megantic because the Harper government never mandated the proposed changes. Our attention must turn to the federal government because it has a lot to answer for and more importantly, a lot to do.
The Rail World Inc., the company involved with the Lac-Megantic derailment, could use a lesson or two in public relations. It took company president Ed Burkhardt four days to get himself to Lac-Megantic, and he spent those days casting blame on the town's fire department and making bad jokes about having to wear a bulletproof vest whenever he did visit. A company's priority should be to take a respectful tone while providing a frank and honest assessment of its own role in an incident. That's not only the right and decent thing to do, it also happens to be a good business decision. It's a lesson Ed Burkhardt may be learning the hard way.
The picture of the small Quebec town engulfed in a sky high fireball after a train derailment in Lac-Megantic would make a macabre poster for all that is wrong with our fossil fuel addiction. The tagline could read: "Are we nuts?"