The NDP de­nounces the govern­ment’s fee­ble­ness in im­pos­ing strict rules re­gard­ing rail­way safety

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

The NDP is in­cred­u­lous at the govern­ment’s laxity re­gard­ing rail­way safety, even as other de­rail­ments and ex­plo­sions of oil tank cars have oc­curred in Canada. “The only con­clu­sion to be drawn is that the Con­ser­va­tives have learned noth­ing from the Lac-Mégantic tragedy», af­firm Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment Jean Rousseau (Comp­ton-Stanstead) and Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sher­brooke).

«The Min­is­ter of Trans­port un­veiled new stan­dards for rail­way safety, but these scant mod­i­fi­ca­tions are noth­ing to boast about. We were an­tic­i­pat­ing a MUCH more am­bi­tious im­prove­ment project and MUCH more re­stric­tive stan­dards», ex­plains Jean Rousseau.

«The reg­u­la­tion of the brak­ing mech­a­nism of the oil tank cars was sup­posed to be one of the crown­ing fea­tures

of this rail­way safety re­form. How­ever, that im­por­tant com­po­nent was en­tirely ne­glected. To top it off, the tank cars in­volved in the ac­ci­dents this month in On­tario---that the BTS ruled as too frag­ile---will re­main on our rail­ways un­til 2023!», con­tin­ues Rousseau.

The Lac-Mégantic tragedy claimed the lives of 47 peo­ple. Since then, dev­as­tat­ing de­rail­ments have taken place in Canada, no­tably in the north of On­tario. «The sole dif­fer­ence is that these other de­rail­ments have oc­curred in sparsely pop­u­lated ar­eas, rather than in the down­town core of a mu­nic­i­pal­ity», ex­plains NDP critic for trans­porta­tion Hoang Mai (Brossard-La Prairie). «But what is ex­tremely wor­ry­ing is that noth­ing is stop­ping it from hap­pen­ing again, po­ten­tially caus­ing an­other tragedy.»

The NDP rec­om­mends that the govern­ment en­sures that trans­porta­tion com­pa­nies be not solely re­spon­si­ble for their safety in­spec­tions. The NDP also de­mands that the govern­ment treat safety man­age­ment sys­tems as a sup­ple­men­tary safety net in­stead of as a sub­sti­tute for sur­veil­lance, reg­u­la­tions, in­spec­tions and ver­i­fi­ca­tions by Trans­port Canada.

«Oil trains pass through dozens of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties daily, and hon­estly, the lax safety stan­dards pre­sented by the con­ser­va­tives have done noth­ing to re­as­sure the pop­u­la­tion», added Pierre-Luc Dusseault. «Why is the Min­is­ter drag­ging her feet on the mat­ter? When will she make real de­ci­sions that en­sure safe rail­way trans­porta­tion? Why is she ne­glect­ing the safety of Cana­di­ans?»

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