By David Bruser
Canada, June 30: In a test run tomorrow, Bombardier Transportation will see its new train cars roll on the 1,956-km Qinghai-Tibet Railway, a project that netted the Montreal-based firm $78 million (U.S.)
But to some Tibetan activists, like Tsering Khangsar of the Canada Tibet Committee, Bombardier, along with Nortel Networks Corp. and other firms involved in the project, have dirtied their hands in an enterprise that will help destroy Tibetan culture.
Khangsar attended the Nortel Networks Corp. annual general meeting yesterday to protest the project, which uses Nortel's wireless communications technology.
She told the crowd at the Toronto Congress Centre on Dixon Rd. that she feels it represents a final stage in Tibetan cultural genocide.
Nortel's CEO Mike Zafirovski quickly countered the suggestion of Nortel's collusion with evil, saying, "We've given this lots of thought. We view this matter finished, and we're moving on," then referred Khangsar to the proxy circular.
"Nortel categorically rejects in the strongest possible terms that we are collaborating with any government to repress the human rights or democratic rights of its citizens," the circular said. "Nortel supplies the same product solutions to China that it provides to many other customers around the world."
Meanwhile, a Bombardier spokeswoman said the firm has frequently met with various Tibetan activists during the last two years.
"We respect their concerns," said spokeswoman Helene Gagnon.
"We've always believed that maintaining an active presence can bring increased economic opportunity, as well as access, transparency and improved circulation of information to previously isolated regions."
Gagnon also noted that Bombardier is only involved in the manufacturing of railcars and has no involvement with the conception or building of the railway itself.