Lac-mé­gan­tic: we need to learn from this tragedy, say New Democrats

In or­der to restore the trust be­tween rail­way com­pa­nies and the peo­ple, there needs to be bet­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion with mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Sher­brooke

New Demo­crat MPs from the Eastern Town­ships and the Mon­térégie have pro­posed four con­crete mea­sures that the fed­eral govern­ment must put into place in the short term in or­der to en­sure rail­way safety and to restore the trust be­tween the peo­ple and the com­pa­nies whose in­fra­struc­tures pass through the many cities and vil­lages of the re­gion.

“We are still search­ing for an­swers con­cern­ing the ex­act causes of the train crash, but there are a few things that the fed­eral govern­ment can do right now to im­prove rail­way safety,” said MP Jean Rousseau (Comp­ton-Stanstead).

New Democrats are call­ing on the fed­eral govern­ment to force com­pa­nies to in­form mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of the trans­port of haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als on their land. “The pub­lic needs to

know,” said Pierre-Luc Dusseault. “If any prob­lem oc­curs, mu­nic­i­pal au­thor­i­ties are the first to in­ter­vene. They must be able to do so fully in­formed.”

The MPs are also ask­ing the fed­eral govern­ment to im­me­di­ately sus­pend the ex­emp­tion granted to the Mon­treal, Maine and At­lantic Rail­way Cor­po­ra­tion al­low­ing it to op­er­ate a train with only one con­duc­tor. “This com­pany is still run­ning trains on Eastern Town­ship rail­ways that go through down­town ar­eas, like in Farn­ham. The res­i­dents just can’t trust the com­pany with­out this ba­sic mea­sure be­ing put into place,” said MP Pierre Ja­cob (Brome-Mis­sisquoi).

New Democrats are also call­ing for the grad­ual withdrawal of the DOT-111 train cars used in the trans­port of haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als and for the adop­tion of a dead­line for their com­plete elim­i­na­tion, as well as the pub­li­ca­tion of all au­dits of MMA op­er­a­tions. “If it is shown that th­ese safety mea­sures are in­ad­e­quate, the govern­ment must im­me­di­ately sus­pend the com­pany’s li­cense,” said Tarik Brahmi (Saint-Jean).

It was un­der Brian Mul­roney’s Con­ser­va­tives that, in 1989, Canada be­gan dereg­u­lat­ing rail­way trans­port. This trend was con­tin­ued with the lib­eral govern­ment who ac­cel­er­ated this step by mod­i­fy­ing the Rail­way Safety Act in 1999, a move which was never called into ques­tion by sub­se­quent fed­eral gov­ern­ments.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.