(Ottawa) Ralph Goodale, special advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 a year ago in Iran, wants his recent report on the tragedy to lead to deep international reforms on the procedures to be followed to investigate such deadly crashes.
Such reforms would in particular prevent a country which is directly responsible for the crash in its territory from leading the investigation into the tragic events in any way, believes Mr. Goodale, who was Minister of Public Safety. during the Trudeau government’s first term.
Mr Goodale, who was not re-elected in his Saskatchewan riding in the last ballot, released his 74-page report at the end of December, days before the first anniversary of the crash of flight PS752 that killed the 176 people on board on January 8, 2020.
Half of the victims were Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. The aircraft was shot down by two surface-to-air missiles fired by Iranian Revolutionary Guards shortly after takeoff from Tehran airport.
“The current international rules are adequate when it comes to investigating an air accident that is caused by bad weather, pilot error, a burning engine or flying geese. But when a country’s military forces are responsible for the tragedy, it is a serious problem. This represents a huge conflict of interest, ”said Mr. Goodale in an interview with Press.
The government of this country is investigating itself. We must change the international rules.
Ralph Goodale, Special Advisor on the Flight PS752 Crash, in interview with Press
According to him, Canada must make it its mission to change international rules by stepping up interventions in international forums such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which has 193 member states.
Mr Goodale agreed that this could be a very complex and difficult task, given that an international treaty would have to be amended, and “it is a process which can be painfully long”. But Canada could start by adding annexes to the treaty in question.
Its report has also been sent to all ICAO members for them to read. In the meantime, he urges Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Minister Marc Garneau and new Transport Minister Omar Alghabra to have a copy of the report in their suitcase when they travel overseas again.
Make sure we don’t forget
“In order to achieve an international consensus on the necessary reforms, we must ensure that the world does not forget the tragedy of flight PS752. I believe that Canada’s most important obligation is to make sure that the world does not forget this. Those responsible for this horrific tragedy are hoping that the passage of time will ensure that this will all go away. But Canada must be persistent and determined to prevent this from happening, ”said the former minister.
According to Mr. Goodale, it is also important that Canada and the other countries which saw their nationals killed in this air tragedy (Sweden, United Kingdom, Ukraine and Afghanistan) collectively maintain the pressure on Iran to obtain the answers to the many questions that remain unanswered. “We owe this to the grieving families,” said Goodale, who will soon become Canada’s next high commissioner in London.
One of those questions that remain unanswered is why the Iranian government did not close its airspace to commercial flights the night its military forces launched missiles as Tehran feared an attack by states- United.
Among other reforms that need to be implemented, Goodale believes in ensuring in the future that countries with air disaster victims have a voice in the conduct of the investigation. . At present, the rules grant them observer status only.
“Canada is the country that suffered the greatest number of victims. It is not enough to have an observer role. The rules must be changed so that bereaved countries also have a role, ”he pleaded. The current rules give the right to participate in the investigation to the country where the accident took place, the country where the airline is from, the country where the aircraft is manufactured and the country where the engines were built. In this case, Iran, Ukraine, the United States and France were called upon to play a role in the investigation, while Canada was confined to the role of observer, underlined Mr. Goodale.