Lac-Mégantic: Olivia’s Statement on Latest TSB Findings

Read the Statement from Official Opposition Critic Olivia Chow About the TSB Findings on Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster

September 11, 2013

TORONTO -  First of all, I want to recognize the hard work of the Transportation Safety
Board and commend the fact that they hold the federal government to account as their investigation progresses.

Months of speculation have been ended as investigators confirmed that the oil in the rail cars that exploded in Lac-Mégantic was misclassified.

As more and more rail cars with oil criss-cross our country and our communities, this has to be a wake-up call for the federal government. We have to end years of federal neglect and mismanagement when it comes to the transportation of dangerous goods.

The Minister of Transport has to address the shortcomings identified by the Office of the Auditor General immediately.

Documentation and testing requirements for dangerous goods have to be stepped up.
Municipalities and indeed all Canadians deserve to know what dangerous goods are being shipped through their neighbourhoods. Proper documentation and transparency are essential for the authorities and emergency responders to properly do their job and protect Canadians.

We call on the Conservative Government to follow Obama’s lead in launching more spot checks and safety inspections to ensure proper labelling of railway cars carrying dangerous materials. Likewise, the dangerous DOT-111A tanker cars have to retired or upgraded immediately.

The NDP has been calling for federal action to increase rail safety for years. Likewise, calls from the Transportation Safety Board have been ignored for too long. Public safety and environmental safety have to be the top priority again for the federal government.

The time for federal action is now.

Together with my New Democrat colleagues, I am looking forward to working with the federal government, railway companies and stakeholders to make Canada’s railways safer.

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