June 22nd, 2015

Conservatives must do more to ensure rail safety

NDP Transport critic Hoang Mai (Brossard—La Prairie) is appalled by the Conservative government’s inability to enforce basic measures recommended by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) to ensure public safety.

Details of an investigation into a CP Rail train transporting 57 cars near Revelstoke, British Columbia, – some of which contained dangerous goods – indicates that hand brakes were not activated at the direction of CP and over the concerns of employees.

“The Lac-Mégantic tragedy, which saw new charges laid today, made it clear that hand brakes are essential to ensuring public safety. The TSB report clearly indicated that an insufficient amount of hand brake force directly contributed to the derailment. The fact that the government is still unable to enforce these measures is appalling.”

This CP incident in British Columbia reminds us of the importance of increasing the number of unscheduled inspections by Transport Canada, as well as penalizing companies that don’t respect the rules.

Since 2009, the budget for rail safety has dwindled by nearly 30% at the same time we’ve seen a jump in the transport of oil by rail in Canada in the same period by more than 2,700%.

“Every day, Canadians are seeing increased numbers of tanker cars in their communities and it is crucial that the necessary budgets and inspections increase accordingly. The government must do more – our safety is not negotiable.”