Lac-Mégantic Tragedy

Letter to the Editor

July 18th, 2013 – 5:19pm

Castlegar, BC

The horror of the oil tanker train explosion in Lac-Mégantic which ended many lives and an entire community will not soon be forgotten. This tragedy is one of the most serious rail catastrophes in the history of our country.

The thoughts of all New Democrats are never far from the victims, families and all those who were affected by this horrific accident. We are tremendously thankful for the hard work of first responders and emergency personnel who went above and beyond the call of duty during the crisis.  The coming weeks are sure to be difficult and once again Canadians from coast to coast are showing a generous spirit with aid and well-wishes.

The circumstances around this incident leave many questions unanswered.  As soon as the victims have received all the help they need, there must be a full investigation – and all the tough questions asked.  It is the only way we can prevent such a catastrophe in the future.

The seriousness of this tragedy must dictate that the federal government reviews its rail safety policies.  New Democrats have long proposed measures to tighten railway safety rules in Canada which have been echoed by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.  From automatic braking systems to risk mitigation in the transportation of dangerous goods – there are practical steps which can be taken right now.

These solutions are overwhelmingly supported by Canadians who expect the federal government to keep their communities safe. New Democrats are ready to work together with stakeholders and other parties to make sure they are implemented.

I believe one of the best ways to honour the memories of the victims of Lac-Mégantic is to fully understand how this tragedy unfolded – and then take whatever steps are necessary to make sure it cannot happen again.

Alex Atamanenko, MP

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