Conservatives offload rail safety responsibility on municipalities

OTTAWA– New Democrats slammed the Conservative government today for attempting to offload the responsibility for rail safety onto municipalities.

“After years of inaction, Mr. Lebel and Ms. Raitt are offloading their responsibilities onto municipalities,” said NDP Transport critic Olivia Chow (Toronto–Spadina). “Instead of passing the buck to municipalities, the Conservatives should finally take action to protect public safety.”

Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel is directing municipalities to contact private companies for information on dangerous products travelling through their borders. Transport Minister Lisa Raitt has also attempted to pass the buck on rail crossing safety onto municipalities. New Democrats have long called on the federal government to bring in rail crossing regulations and ensure that municipal governments are informed about the dangerous goods that are being transported through their communities.

“I once again call on the Conservatives to take action on our recommendations for rail safety, starting with phasing out the use of DOT-111 tank cars in the transport of hazardous materials,” said NDP deputy Transport critic Hoang Mai (Brossard—La Prairie).

“Our communities have waited 13 years for the rail crossing regulations to ensure greater safety – it’s time for action.”