Lac-Mégantic railway tragedy: new request for a commission of inquiry

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A group of federal elected officials and citizens take advantage of the electoral wind blowing on Parliament Hill to demand once again a public inquiry into the Lac-Mégantic railway tragedy.

“Justice has not been rendered to the families of 47 victims, the 27 orphans and several Méganticois who have been severely affected psychologically, physically and materially,” said Tuesday Robert Bellefleur, spokesman for the Coalition of Citizens and organizations committed to railway safety in Lac-Mégantic.

Bloc MP Monique Pauzé, who will be tabling a petition calling for a commission of inquiry in Parliament on Wednesday, said she hopes the approach to the federal election campaign will force political parties to make commitments.

The petition, the third of its kind, has 3792 signatories and is supported by Green Party leader Elizabeth May and NDP MP Robert Aubin. 

The Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, however, categorically closed the door to a commission of inquiry when questioned in a scrum. 

“The light was shed on everything that happened in Lac-Mégantic,” he said, citing the “comprehensive” investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). 

“I think the Méganticois want to move on now. It’s been almost six years. […] That’s why we’re setting up a bypass, “added Mr. Garneau. 

Ms. Pauzé believes that the TSB’s report has been “softened” and “watered down” because of political pressure as well as the rail industry. 

In April 2018, the members of the National Assembly passed a motion calling on Ottawa to call a public inquiry into the rail tragedy that occurred on July 6, 2013. 

This request came a few months after three former employees of the former Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway Company (MMA) were found not guilty of criminal negligence causing death. 

“Rail safety has not improved in Canada since 2013,” said Bellefleur, citing one more reason for a commission of inquiry. 

According to preliminary TSB statistics, the year 2018 was marked by a 7% increase in rail accidents. 

MP Robert Aubin argued that there is a lack of inspectors to check the condition of rail infrastructure in the field. 

“As the last gift before [the federal election this fall], I ask our Minister of Transport to call this inquiry and I think it will help put some credibility back in the last years of this government and in the classroom. in general, “said Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny, author of the book” Mégantic: a tragedy announced “.

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