- also mentions ex-TCPL engineer Evan Vokes who was fired in May 2012 after raising concerns about the company's practices. Many other reports referenced below also feature Evan Vokes. This October 28th report also makes reference to a pipeline incident reports database - quote:-
1,000 safety-related incidents, shows database
But for industry watchers, every little problem counts — and there are more than 1,000 "safety-related incidents" involving federally-regulated pipelines detailed in the National Energy Board database from 2000 to late 2012.
This database appears to me to be the one referred to in the CBC report at:- http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/pipeline-incidents/
To me, this raises serious concerns about the safety of the Keystone XL oil pipeline project as long as TCPL are involved. We cannot at present be assured that the Keystone XL oil pipeline will be safe enough from major explosions and leaks - putting workers, the general public and the environment at unnecessary risk. The same concerns arise in connection with the proposed Energy East oil pipeline – which is also to be done by TCPL.
Evan Vokes and I have a common concern to see that anything designed by professional engineers in Canada is also properly constructed, followed by inspections properly carried out according to professional engineers’ instructions to ensure the safety of the public, workers and compliance with all applicable laws.
As things are in Canada now, attitudes towards “whistleblowers” who find something being incorrectly done, thus posing unnecessary and unacceptable risks to everybody as well as breaking the law, are such that they risk losing their jobs and having their lives ruined in the name of foolhardy cost-cutting thus putting company profits before safety and compliance with the law. The attitudes referred to amount to nothing more than social prejudice founded on office politics, popular disinformation and attempts by big corporations and their leaders to cover up their own wrongdoing, “aided and abetted” by weak or non-existent Canadian legislation to protect the said “whistleblowers”.
The point could hardly have been made clearer by Linden MacIntyre of the CBC’s “Fifth Estate” program, in his October 31st 2013 online article, “Why whistleblowers are crucial for democracy”. Reference:-http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/why-whistleblowers-are-crucial-for-democracy-linden-macintyre-1.2288168
I posted several online comments about SNC-Lavalin Inc. in response to this.
The CBC has also reported extensively on this same Evan Vokes, and his firing by TCPL. Reference: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/whistleblower-forced-investigation-of-transcanada-pipelines-1.1146204
This CBC report is dated May 2012, earlier than any of the 23 reports involving Mr. Vokes on the FAIR website referenced below. This CBC report and video featuring him mentions “…concerns about the competency of some pipeline inspectors and the company’s lack of compliance with welding regulations set by the National Energy Board (NEB), the federal energy industry regulator…”
Any possibility of shoddy work by TCPL and anyone else involved in the Keystone XL project - or any other project - putting the safety of workers, the general public and the environment at risk, is obviously not acceptable.
There seems to me to be a clear case here of where the standard of engineering and construction in Canada has been lowered, at the expense of safety standards – by deliberately-enforced bad workplace manners and management attitudes in Canada, and project mis-management involving un-justified ”slacking” concerning onsite inspections during construction work, bad pipeline welds and other construction faults.
A few people know about the office politics, bad workplace manners, wrongful dismissal and corruption carried on at my expense by SNC-Lavalin Inc. (and The SNC Group before them) AND OTHERS OVER THE 32 YEARS SINCE 1982, as reported on my own website at www.exposethismuck.com Generally, however, it has been covered up over this entire time because mainstream media have either ignored it or consistently refused to investigate and report on it when asked, or ignored it when it was referenced in online postings by me, notwithstanding the thorough supporting documentation on the website. As the FAIR Monthly Headlines: October 2013 copied below shows, there is a huge problem in Canadian workplaces with rank incompetence, office politics, bad workplace manners, wrongful dismissals and workplace corruption that big Canadian corporations and their leaders are trying to cover up. At the present time, FAIR also cannot reference / report on / my story on its own website because of legal liability issues (and possible SLAPPs) arising from my story NOT BEING “OFFICIALLY” IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN - on account of there having been no previous media investigation and reports.
Based on that, can we trust SNC-Lavalin Inc. ?
With regard to SNC-Lavalin Inc.’s involvement in the Keystone XL project, the only currently-available public reference to this is at:-
Quote from this 2007 report by SNC-Lavalin Inc.:-
“Preliminary engineering is complete and detailed design work is underway on TransCanada’s Keystone oil pipeline project. Our mandate involves engineering design for all terminals, tankage, metering and pump stations for the new 450,000 bpd, 3,000 km pipeline between Hardisty, Alberta and Cushing, Oklahoma.”
The website of a major competitor to SNC-Lavalin Inc. – WorleyParsons – shows an announcement dated March 5th 2009, concerning a contract award to WorleyParsons for “………..the detailed engineering, commissioning and construction support for the facilities of the Keystone Pipeline System expansion for TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP. The expansion is complementary to the first phase of the Keystone Pipeline System and, once completed, will serve existing refineries and markets on the U.S. Gulf Coast in Texas………..”
Whatever the current situation concerning SNC-Lavalin Inc.’s work on Keystone, the question posed above - about SNC-Lavalin Inc.‘s conduct in general – applies, and demands satisfactory answers, and not just from people whom they currently employ.
In addition to this, SNC-Lavalin Inc. C.E.O. Robert Card’s press releases in December 2013 concerning progress in cleaning up corruption at SNC-Lavalin Inc. overlooked the issues referred to above. By way of reminder, these concerned the office politics, bad workplace manners, wrongful dismissal and corruption carried on at my expense by SNC-Lavalin Inc. (and The SNC Group before them). Robert Card likely over-looked this because the said issues were deliberately concealed from him by his predecessors such as former President and C.E.O. Guy Saint-Pierre, O.C., even though the latter’s retirement as President and C.E.O. of SNC-Lavalin Inc. happened in 1996. The said press releases concerned SNC-Lavalin Inc.’s record of improper payments and bribes in Libya; one example of this was the $160 million bribe that they paid to Saadi Gadhafi in the name of getting a contract to design and build a new prison in Libya.
Guy Saint-Pierre, O.C., was then Chairman of the Board at SNC-Lavalin Inc. until his final retirement from SNC-Lavalin Inc. in 2002. Some of his successors and other people at the company would surely have known what was going on.
Mr. Chisholm’s online article exclusively about this is located at www.exposethismuck.com/SAMART1.htm and it contains active links to supporting documents. The supporting documents include, among other things, details of SNC’s office furniture seizure and bank account seizure for non-payment to Mr. Chisholm at the conclusion of his wrongful dismissal suit in August 1991.
Returning now to Evan Vokes, TCPL, safety and workmanship and compliance with the law on the Keystone pipeline project, people might want to read at least some of the 23 reports that were referenced at http://fairwhistleblower.ca/search/site/vokes. - until about mid-2014 when the site was transferred to new owners.
For ease of reference, I have summarised SOME of the important points from the 23 reports referred to HERE
The selection was made based on engineering relevance and avoidance of unnecessary repetition across the various reports.
The sample reports just referred to have all been verified as still available “at source”, are available on request and copies saved for future reference in the event of removal from the external websites involved.
In any dealings with TCPL, in Mr. Chisholm’s view the aim should be to demand that TCPL guarantee strict adherence to regulated safety standards, ASME codes, onsite inspection procedures at construction sites, welding procedure specifications etc. and not permit any more deviations of the type found by Mr. Vokes and others.
UPDATE FEB 27TH 2014
Based on a just-released National Energy Board audit, it appears that TransCanada Pipelines have learned some things from earlier mistakes. Reference:-
https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/sftnvrnmnt/cmplnc/dtrprt/2014trnscnd-ntgrt/2014trnscnd-ntgrt-eng.pdf (released February 24th 2014)
But doubts still remain about whether they have fully learned. Reference this February 25th 2014 report:-
Robert T. Chisholm, Ottawa, November 28th 2014
B.Sc. Hons. (Mechanical Engineering) – University of Bath, U.K., 1970; Associate Member - Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE)
10:05 AM (23 hours ago)
10:05 AM (23 hours ago)
FAIR Monthly Headlines: October 2013. "This destroyed my career and my life"
A selected list of articles added to the FAIR website last month. These are about whistleblowing, whistleblowers, and the types of misconduct that they typically expose.
Guillaume Bourgault-Côté – October 24,2013
For a journalist, she was a preferred source but for the government, she was a mole waiting to be caught. And that’s what happened: Sylvie Therrien got caught. The public servant from the Employment Insurance Integrity Services was officially terminated this week for having revealed to Le Devoir the existence of the quotas imposed to investigators.
Today, she is lamenting the fate of whistleblowers. “I acted in the public interest and I’m paying a huge price," she said. "It’s horrible to live through this now and especially its aftermath considering that nobody will give a job to a whistleblower. It has destroyed my career and my life.”
Donovan Vincent – October 24, 2013
The federal fraud investigator who leaked documents exposing a Conservative crackdown on those receiving EI has been fired from her job. Sylvie Therrien, 53, who worked out of a Vancouver office, learned Tuesday that she has been terminated from her position.
The letter, sent on behalf of an executive with what is now called Employment and Social Development Canada, informed Therrien that her “reliability status’’ had been revoked, and therefore she no longer met the conditions for her job.
October 28, 2013
CBC News has learned the rate of spills and leaks involving federally-regulated pipelines has doubled since 2000, and a whistleblower says construction flaws — not aging pipelines — are to blame.
The National Energy Board regulates about 71,000 kilometres of pipelines across the country, almost half of which sit in Alberta (30,628 kilometres). Evan Vokes worked as an engineer at Calgary-based TransCanada until last year when he was fired after raising concerns about the company's practices.
Pamela Roth – October 28, 2013
A former chair of the Law Enforcement Review Board (LERB) is urging Edmonton police to create a whistle-blower policy and address the code of silence practice.
In a letter addressed to the Edmonton Police Commission (EPC), Patrick Knoll, who once chaired the Calgary Police Commission and the LERB, states that the events concerning Const. Derek Huff and Const. Jack Redlick could "very well allow for the implementation of an Edmonton Police Commission policy that would address the code of silence practice and serve to significantly reduce further events of like kind."
Pamela Roth – October 3, 2013
Across the street from police headquarters on Thursday appeared a large, colourful sign directed to the chief, Rod Knecht. It read: "Chief Knecht -- Derek Huff deserves his job back."
Huff resigned in February, citing harassment from peers after making a complaint of excessive force against three of his colleagues in February 2010. He was lost for words when told about the sign.
Brent Wittmeier – October 7, 2013
In Derek Huff’s telling, it was a dream job that quickly fell to tatters. Everything changed in a few seconds on Feb. 11, 2010. That’s when Huff and another Edmonton constable pulled up in front of a downtown residence.
They saw a trio of fellow plainclothes officers punch and kick a drug dealer targeted in an undercover sting. Huff, a seven-year veteran had seen rough arrests. This wasn’t a couple of punches, he says, but a planned beating.
Andy Blatchford – October 31, 2013
A Roman Catholic priest says his attempt to raise the issue of sexual abuse with colleagues resulted in him being ostracized and eventually fired from a famous Montreal church.
The story told by Rev. Andre Samson suggests that the Vatican's promises of a new, more open approach to dealing with sexual crimes has not necessarily translated through the church rank-and-file.
John Nicol & Dave Seglins – October 24, 2013
A whistleblower lawsuit in the United States is accusing CN Rail of fudging its numbers to increase executive bonuses and to make it appear to be North America's most efficient railroad for investors.
Tim Wallender, a former CN trainmaster based at the company's Harrison Yard in Memphis, Tenn. has filed a lawsuit under the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act — which was passed into law to protect whistleblowers following the Enron scandal in the early 2000s.
Jorge Barrera & Kenneth Jackson – September 25, 2013
Canadian National Railway was allegedly “engaged in criminal conduct by defrauding shareholders” and U.S. “federal regulators” by “manipulating” data to boost its efficiency and, by extension, its share price, according to a whistleblower complaint filed in U.S. federal court.
The complaint also alleges that CN has an unwritten policy of “retaliating against whistleblowers” and that the alleged criminal conduct was endorsed by a senior official in CN’s head office to keep the company’s share prices high.
Andrea Hill – October 21, 2013
Ninety per cent of Canadian government scientists feel they can’t speak freely to the media and half say they have seen the health and safety of Canadians or environmental sustainability compromised because of political interference with scientific work, says a national survey of federal scientists.
“Science is increasingly being frozen out of policy decisions and scientists themselves are not able to provide timely, vital scientific information to Canadians,” said Gary Corbett, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada union, which represents 60,000 government workers.
Emily Wax-Thibodeaux – October 31, 2013
Federal employees at the Department of Homeland Security call it the “candy bowl,” a pot of overtime money they have long dipped into to pad their pay even if they haven’t earned it, whistleblowers say.
This practice, which can add up to 25 percent to a paycheck, has become so routine over the last generation that it’s often held out as a perk when government managers try to recruit new employees, according to these accounts.
The "courage" of Edward Snowden is "contagious," according to lawyer and transparency advocate Jesselyn Radack, who says that additional employees at the National Security Agency are now coming forward with what they consider objectionable practices by their employer.
In an interview with ABC News, Radack revealed that an influx of NSA whistleblowers, inspired by Snowden, are now knocking on the doors of her organization.
Philip Oltermann – November 1, 2013
Edward Snowden may be invited to Germany as a witness against the US National Security Agency. Action is under way in the Bundestag to commission a parliamentary investigation into US intelligence service spying and a German politician met Snowden in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the matter.
Hans-Christian Ströbele, the veteran Green party candidate for Berlin's Kreuzberg district, reported that the US whistleblower was prepared in principle to assist a parliamentary inquiry.
Roger Cohen – October 31, 2013
A young American lawyer comes to Brazil in 2005, falls in love, finds that his gay relationship confers greater legal rights than back home, starts a blog called Unclaimed Territory focusing on illegal warrantless eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, takes a place in the hills of Rio with a bunch of rescue dogs...
...denounces the cozy compromises of “establishment journalists,” gets hired to write a column by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, is sought out by the N.S.A. whistle-blower Edward J. Snowden, becomes the main chronicler of Snowden’s revelations of global American surveillance, is lionized for work that prompts a far-reaching debate on security and freedom, files repeated thunderbolts from his leafy Brazilian perch, and ends up, in just eight years, as perhaps the most famous journalist of his generation.
Alan Tovey – October 31, 2013
It takes courage to blow the whistle on wrongdoing at work and those brave enough to raise their concerns are putting their livelihood, friendships and health on the line. In some cases they might even be risking their lives.
This high toll is something Michael Woodford, the former president of Olympus, knows only too well. When he exposed a $1.7bn (£1.1bn) fraud at the global company and possible links to the Japanese mafia, he was left fearing for his safety with police advising him not to use the balcony of his Thames-side apartment because of the risk of assassination.
Zoe Williams & Nick Hopkins – October 18, 2013
Britain's most senior prosecutor has launched a robust defence of journalists who break the law pursuing investigations that have a genuine public interest. Legal guidelines had been drafted, he said, to protect reporters.
Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions (DPP), insisted it "would be very unhealthy if you had a situation where a journalist felt that they needed to go to their lawyer before they pursued any lead or asked any question".
Matthew Holehouse – October 23, 2013
Not one senior medic raised concerns about failings of care during the Mid Staffordshire scandal, David Prior, the chairman of the Care Quality Commission, said.
MPs yesterday claimed the medical profession is ruled by a “mafia code” that means whistleblowers are “finished” by their colleagues. “One of the things I’ve learnt over the past six months is to be a whistleblower you’ve got to be very, very brave.
Nikolaj Nielsen – October 13, 2013
The European Commission has rejected a request by MEPs to introduce EU whistleblower protection laws before the end of year. Deputies in Strasbourg voted through a crime report on Wednesday (23 October) to ensure, among other proposals, greater protection for people who go public with damning evidence.
The report says an EU-wide law is necessary to protect people dealing with national and cross-border corruption relating to EU financial interests. Conservative Italian MEP Salvatore Iacolino, who steered the report for the parliament, estimated that between 4 to 5 percent of the EU’s GDP is lost to corruption alone.
Jordan Press – October 1, 2013
An independent commission that redrew the federal electoral map in Ontario is suggesting two MPs, including the New Democratic Party's ethics critic, may have manipulated a handful of communities into reversing their positions on the redrawn map.
The allegations are contained in the final report from the Ontario electoral boundary commission that rejected multiple recommendations from Conservative MPs - including House leader Peter Van Loan and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver - for changes to riding borders, and rebuked comments from two Liberal MPs that the commission was corrupted in its decisions.
Laura Stone – September 11, 2103
The Conservative Party lawyer who attended interviews related to the May 2011 robocalls investigation at times spoke for witnesses and directed the questions, according to excerpts obtained by Global News.
Arthur Hamilton sat in on the interviews with the witnesses, who had all worked as Conservative staffers, alongside Elections Canada investigators Allan Mathews and Ron Lamothe in March and April 2012.
Donna Carreiro – September 9, 2013
It took a good seven hours before an ER nurse finally had the chance to call maintenance about a locked-up bathroom door — only to discover the body of a woman who had shown up at the hospital, seeking treatment.
"She was dead on the toilet, in full rigor," the nurse recalls. "She'd been dead for a while." Welcome to life — and death — in Winnipeg's emergency rooms. Plagued for years with overcrowding, understaffing and a slew of casualties along the way.
Donna Carreiro – September 6, 2013
It was a massive heart attack in the middle of a waiting room that scored a patient the attention he needed — and it was only after waiting more than five hours to be seen. Is this another example of a dysfunctional emergency room pre-Brian Sinclair?
No. It happened just two months ago — that is, almost five years after Sinclair's death in 2008 and after the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) heralded changes in the ER to prevent yet another case.
Gary Dimmock – October 22, 2013
The former chief administrator for the town of Clarence-Rockland is suing the embattled mayor in a $350,000 defamation claim for posting private documents online and falsely accusing him of criminal acts during a police investigation into possible corruption.
In the statement of claim, filed at the Elgin Street courthouse, Daniel Gatien alleges that Rockland Mayor Marcel Guibord wrongly implicated him in an online letter he refused to delete even after the town’s top executive got two legal opinions warning the municipality that such a posting could expose them to a civil suit. (The Citizen has obtained copies of the internal legal opinions.)
Wendy Gillis – October 20, 2013
The public face of the insolvent rail company implicated in the Lac-Mégantic train disaster remains convinced that single-man crews are safe — even more so than those with multiple workers — and maintains that one man is responsible for the deadly accident.
Edward Burkhardt, chairman of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, told the Toronto Star in a recent interview that he stands by his company’s use of one-man crews, and would continue using them if Transport Canada had not passed emergency regulation banning their use in the wake of the July 6 disaster that killed 47 people.
Karina Roman – October 1, 2013
Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent says the new veterans charter is putting the most severely wounded veterans at risk of hardship and poverty, and is calling on the government to fix the problem.
For years, veterans have complained about the programs and compensation under the veterans charter, which was brought in in 2006. Under the legislation, ex-soldiers saw the decades-old pension for life system replaced with a workers' compensation-style approach of lump-sum awards and allowances.
Colin Kenny – October 15, 2013
Canadians ought not to be wringing their hands at the news that our electronic eavesdropping agency is spying on the Brazilian mining industry. Espionage — both for security and economic advantage — is a fact of international life.
What Canadians should be anxious about is the lack of oversight of Canadian agencies that conduct espionage. We are entitled to know that capable, independent and responsible people are keeping an eye on how our spies — and our military — are interfering in the lives of both foreigners and Canadian citizens.
Douglas Quan – October 19, 2013
The watchdog overseeing Canada's spy agency is investigating a complaint by a Hamilton man who says he received an unannounced visit at his home by two agents earlier this year after making public statements that were critical of the Harper government's position on Iran.
Ken Stone, a longtime antiwar, social justice and environmental activist, said the agents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service wanted to ask him more about his views on Iran and his travels there.
Mary Ormsby – October 26, 2013
Slot machine dollars earmarked for Ontario’s struggling horse racing industry were misspent or are unaccounted for due to lax oversight by the provincial government, a Star investigation has found.
How much is at issue is not known, but it was fear of an ORNGE-style scandal that led then Finance Minister Dwight Duncan last year to abruptly cancel the long-running deal that funded horse racing in Ontario using publicly regulated gambling revenues. In all, $4.1 billion from slot machines flowed to the sport over 15 years.
October 21, 2013
More than 100 people remain out of their homes after 13 cars of a CN freight train carrying oil and liquefied petroleum gas went off the rails near the tiny hamlet of Gainford, about 80 kilometres west of Edmonton, early Saturday morning.
The area was rocked by two explosions just after 1 a.m., rousing residents from their beds and triggering two waves of evacuation orders. Residents will likely not be allowed to return to their homes until sometime Tuesday, despite earlier reports that the evacuation order might be lifted early Monday morning.
Larry Pynn – October 23, 2013
A federal transportation safety board report Wednesday into a fatal float plane crash in Ontario is putting renewed pressure on Transport Canada to address long-standing safety issues raised in B.C. that could save lives.
A Cochrane Air Service de Havilland Beaver float plane stalled in flight, crashed and flipped over following an aborted landing on May 25, 2012 at Lillabelle Lake, north of Timmins. All three people aboard survived the initial crash, but only one escaped the partly submerged aircraft; the other two drowned.
Sean Bruyea – October 23, 2013
Veterans aren’t happy and recently-appointed Veterans Affair Minister Julian Fantino is only fanning the fire with the usual parroting of bureaucratic misinformation. How do veterans and other Canadians hold a minister and his bureaucracy accountable for spreading half-truths and misleading claims?
The first step to accountability is to uncover the truth. The situation in the veteran community is so dire that Fantino wrote an op-ed for the National Post and also sent it out on the internet addressed to “Dear Veteran.” His open letter claims there is a “tangle of misinformation regarding how Canada treats” its veterans.
Sheree Bega – October 26, 2013
South Africa’s forensic auditors are receiving death threats for exposing rampant corruption in the public and private sector. The suspected hit on top forensic auditor Lawrence Moepi last week is only the “tip of the iceberg” for a profession that is becoming increasingly dangerous, according to Association of Public Accounts secretary-general Hlomani Chauke.
“Nowadays, these kinds of attacks are happening to people who are unravelling corruption and the mismanagement of public and private money,” he said.
Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform (FAIR) promotes integrity and accountability within government by empowering employees to speak out without fear of reprisal when they encounter wrongdoing. Our aim is to support legislation and management practices that will provide effective protection for whistleblowers and hence occupational free speech in the workplace. FAIR is a registered Canadian charity.
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