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Newsstand: March 17, 2014

It's St. Patrick's Day! Get drunk, if you're into that. Or stay at home to avoid the crushing mass of inebriated college kids likely to make its way to a bar near you by sometime tomorrow evening. Onto the news: plans for Eglinton's transit expansion are coming along, most Torontonians don't want trains carrying crude oil through the city, and Conservative MPs are cherry-picking their next electoral competition.

matt newsstand gull

A second tunnelling contract has been approved for the Eglinton “Crosstown” transit expansion. Crosstown will run 19 kilometres and will run underground through the city core and at street level on the eastern end; it’s part of a larger 25-year transit initiative, called “The Big Move,” which is expected to cost around $50 billion. Crosstown, meanwhile, will cost $4.9 billion and the latest contract handed out was worth $177 million.

A recent poll found that almost 70 per cent of city residents don’t want trains carrying flammable crude oil through the city. This comes on the heels of the Lac-Mégantic train explosion last July, which killed at least 42 people. Nearly two thirds of respondents said they were concerned something similar might happen in Toronto.

The federal Conservatives have begun their “fair and open” seat nomination process, and it appears to be anything but—in addition to acclaiming many sitting MPs without allowing challengers to step up, the party has dramatically reshaped the ridings in the GTA. Gains in Ontario during the 2011 election were largely responsible for the securing of a majority government in that election, and it seems the Conservatives are working hard to double down on those gains. Many incumbent MPs have chosen for their 2015 competitions the safer option when faced with a newly splintered constituency. Hopeful challengers are none too pleased, and it remains to be seen if there will be any public response to the Conservatives’ unseemly, if all-too-common, dirty tricks.


  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    “……and it remains to be seen if there will be any public response to the Conservatives’ unseemly, if all-too-common, dirty tricks.”

    Why should the public be upset over this. For the most part people are politically unengaged and haven’t cared that much when the Tories have engaged in mud slinging and dirty tricks. I doubt people will get upset now.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    As I understand it crude oil isn’t the danger – crude will extinguish a lit match rather than burst into flames – it’s the unnecessarily high levels of natural gas crude oil is shipped with that poses the problem. either way, what makes pumping the same stuff through pipes under the sidewalk any safer?

    • dsmithhfx

      The real danger is the frakked “bakken” oil from North Dakota (that exploded at Megantic, and at least one other locale in the past year, IIRC), which for various reasons is far more dangerous than ‘conventional’ crude. The railroads (and feds) refuse to identify these hazardous shipments, or even the percentage of them in the overall mix to municipalities, so realistically, nobody can prepare for the eventuality of a mishap in a highly-populated area.

    • andrew97

      A leak in an underground pipeline will give plenty of time to repair and/or evacuate. A derailment will abruptly dump thousands of gallons of highly flammable oil in the middle of a neighborhood.

      • dsmithhfx

        “A leak in an underground pipeline will give plenty of time to repair and/or evacuate.”

        Except this one, possibly:

        • andrew97

          Well, for context: the Kalamazoo River oil spill, “the largest inland oil spill in US history”, involved 1 million US gallons of crude which leaked out of the pipeline over 18 hours. The Lac-Mégantic disaster involved an oil train carrying twice as much oil, which leaked and exploded in a few seconds when the train skipped the tracks.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Explosions aren’t the only danger a pipe rupture could produce. We don’t need a million gallons of crude running down storm drains or a ravine and out to the lake any more than we need a fiery cataclysm.

        • andrew97

          I agree, but you still get contamination with train spills. If the question is whether pipelines or trains are safer, the answer is pipelines by a long shot.

          • dsmithhfx

            That’s due to neglect and slack/non -regulation as much as anything else.