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