Monday, October 11, 2010

A legal approach I'd like to see here in Alberta

BUDAPEST — The managing director of the company whose reservoir unleashed a lethal torrent of red sludge on three villages last week has been arrested, the Hungarian prime minister announced before Parliament on Monday.
He will be charged with criminal negligence leading to a public catastrophe, and if convicted could face a sentence of up to 10 years, according to a government spokeswoman.

Oilsands giant Syncrude was found guilty Friday on both environmental charges it was facing in connection with the April 2008 deaths of 1,600 ducks in one of its northern Alberta tailings ponds.
Syncrude was charged under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act with failing to protect migratory birds from a toxic tailings pond.
In a decision delivered to a packed courtroom in St. Albert, Alta., provincial court Judge Ken Tjosvold said Syncrude didn't exercise due diligence in preventing the birds from landing on the water.
"I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Syncrude could have acted lawfully by using due diligence to deter birds from the basin, whether or not it was successful in its attempts at deterrence, and it did not do so," Tjosvold said in his written decision.
The judge pointed to evidence presented during the trial that showed Syncrude had reduced staff responsible for its bird deterrent systems because of retirements and had scaled back the number of deterrents it used in the years before the ducks died.
If you followed the link looking for how many years the corporate board of Syncrude will be serving in prison, you didn't miss it, it wasn't there.  Nobody thinks for a second they'll face any punishment other than financial, and that not to any degree that will cause any actual pain to anyone responsible.  We have carefully established corporations as responsibility free zones here in North America.

The only thing that can get an executive even limited prison time here is stealing from other rich people. 

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