Site of Lake Megantic derailment - Date unknown Mathieu Belanger.
18 August 2014
Transportation Safety Board's Independence Questioned
on Eve of Lake Megantic Report
Ottawa Ontario - On the eve of the long-awaited report into the Lake Megantic railway disaster, a think-tank says the probe won't address systemic problems with Canada's railway network.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says lax federal regulators are as much to blame as negligent railway workers for the derailment and explosion that killed 47 people last summer.
Study author Bruce Campbell issued his report a day before the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) was to release its findings into the disaster.
"Will the TSB tone down its criticism of Transport Canada or sidestep issues which could prevent a future Lake Megantic disaster?" said the Ottawa-based research group that was harshly critical of the Conservative government.
"Major regulatory proposals will not generally move forward without the nod from the Prime Minister's Office," Campbell added.
TSB spokesman John Cottreau wouldn't comment on the think-tank's criticisms but says the agency is "working really hard to ensure the successful release of the Lake Megantic report."
In the months following the disaster, the Harper government ordered certain classes of dangerous goods carried by rail to be clearly labelled.
Ottawa also banned 5,000 of the most dangerous and high-risk tankers from carrying dangerous liquids.
The rest of the older tankers produced before 2011 are to be taken off the rails by 2017.
They include the mis-labelled DOT-111 cars that left the tracks in Lake Megantic on the night of 6 Jul 2013 destroying a 1.5-square-kilometre area of the town centre.
The train's engineer and two railway managers each face 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death in the blast.