Elizabeth May is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Transport Marc Garneau to commit to announcing the Lac-Mégantic rail bypass by January 2017, so that the people of Lac-Mégantic can enjoy Christmas in peace and security. The July 2013 derailment of a freight train carrying Bakken crude oil claimed 47 lives.
Elizabeth and the citizens’ coalition were joined by Bloc MP Michel Boudrias (MP, Terrebonne) at a media conference in Ottawa.
Elizabeth said: “In memory of the 47 victims, the people of Lac-Mégantic and all Canadians expect Prime Minister Trudeau to keep the promises he made during the election campaign. The Trudeau government must announce this rail bypass quickly.”
Robert Bellefleur, spokesperson for the Lac-Mégantic citizens’ coalition for rail safety, said that the Eastern Townships public health department confirmed in February 2016 that two out of every three people in Lac-Mégantic are still affected by post-traumatic stress from the tragic derailment of July 6, 2013. Residents were frustrated by the quick resumption of petroleum-laden freight trains travelling on Lac-Mégantic’s old rails and steep slopes. “This is why the bypass is essential,” Mr. Bellefleur said.
On July 27, 2013, in Lac-Mégantic, the Prime Minister signed a petition to build a rail line bypass so that hazardous trains would not travel through downtown Lac-Mégantic. In addition, on October 6, 2015, in Sherbrooke, two weeks before he was elected, Justin Trudeau made the Lac-Mégantic bypass an electoral promise.