(LAC-MÉGANTIC)--I am writing these words in Lac-Mégantic, five years after the railway tragedy that killed 47 persons. The people of Lac-Mégantic are still trying to heal their wounds. We can imagine how difficult this must be for them. In addition to the initial shock, they went through a reconstruction that upset several of them. However, what makes their loss even more difficult is that they still have no explanation about the causes of the tragedy. After the criminal and civil proceedings and the acquittal of train driver Thomas Harding, the federal government keeps repeating that rail safety is assured in Canada.
In Mégantic, people know that this is untrue. Trains can still park up on the hill that leads to downtown Mégantic, and only the railway companies know which brakes are holding back these ticking time bombs. Nothing has changed in terms of rail safety. After an accident of this magnitude, an inquiry board must be held to shed light on this tragedy. This is what the citizens of Mégantic are asking for. The Green Party of Canada supports their demand. An inquiry board is the only way to take back control of the train industry in Canada before it takes more lives.
The recent announcement of the railroad track that will bypass Mégantic clearly shows the complete control that rail companies have over our safety. While the federal and provincial governments will pay all the costs, this bypass track will be wholly owned by Central Maine & Quebec Railway, a private firm that is also drawing up all the plans. This is an unacceptable situation that is currently tearing apart the Mégantic region. This track needs to be planned with the community and remain public property. It’s a matter of democracy and justice.
All our thoughts go out to the loved ones of the victims and the survivors of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy.
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