Feds announce $60-million for Lac-Mégantic disaster recovery - Macleans.ca

Feds announce $60-million for Lac-Mégantic disaster recovery


LAC-MÉGANTIC, Que. – The federal government has announced a $60-million fund to help Lac-Mégantic, Que., amid increasing pressure to make a specific aid commitment following a train disaster more than two weeks ago.

The announcement from local MP Christian Paradis, the international development minister, came after the Harper government faced some criticism for having failed to provide any details beyond its promise to help the community.

The provincial government, for its part, had moved immediately with its own $60-million fund and provided emergency aid that saw stranded people swiftly receive $1,000 cheques.

As he announced an equal contribution from the federal government Monday, Paradis applauded the work from the province to provide immediate assistance.

From the new federal fund, $25 million will go to the provincial government for emergency aid and $35 million will go to longer-term economic-recovery projects for the region.

Paradis reiterated that the feds are committed to helping.

“The people of Mégantic can count on the support of the federal government,” Paradis said. “All Canadians feel shock and sadness over this tragedy.”

Paradis holds a close connection to the July 6 disaster.

The local MP happened to be having lunch at a pub just hours before it became the epicentre of the blast.

Many of the suspected 47 victims of the derailment were at the Musi-Cafe bar, whose patrons have described seeing a wall of fire engulf the area near the tracks.

Forty-two bodies have been found, although none have been recovered since the weekend and five of the suspected victims remain missing

“Sadly, we have not found any more victims in the rubble,” said provincial police Insp. Michel Forget.

“I can tell you that police are animated by a very strong desire to find them.”

Twenty-eight of the victims’ bodies have been identified.

Crews have gotten better access to the immediate crash area with the help of a crane that lifted two train wagons. Black boxes from the locomotives have been sent to the United States for analysis, Forget said Monday.

The provincial government released an environmental-impact statement Monday estimating that 5.7 million litres of oil spilled into the air, water and soil during the disaster.

The statement also said 9 million litres of oily water were recovered and that a full cleanup of the water was expected.

On Tuesday, the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities will reconvene for an emergency meeting in Ottawa.

The Opposition NDP had pushed for MPs to meet to discuss regulatory recommendations that had been made over the years.

Last week, the federal Transportation Safety Board requested two immediate changes for train travel, despite its investigation into the Lac-Mégantic tragedy still only being in its early stages.

The agency sent Transport Canada two safety advisories asking for a pair of changes — the first being that dangerous goods should not be left unattended on a main track, and also that rail equipment be properly secured.

Fifty non-government organizations from across the country have also issued a call for changes, and are distributing an online petition.

They want a ban on shipping oil in older DOT-111A tanker cars; an end to one-person train crews; and a sweeping review, with public hearings, of all oil-transportation methods, including pipelines.


Feds announce $60-million for Lac-Mégantic disaster recovery

  1. If this were the 514, would the government still be willing to help out?

    • Why the hell would that make any difference?

      • I rest my case, Your Honor.

  2. Meanwhile, black boxes from the locomotive at the centre of Canada’s
    deadliest railway explosion were sent to the United States for analysis,
    provincial police said Monday.

    Insp. Michel Forget told a news conference that the devices were
    brought back to Canada on the weekend as a criminal investigation
    continues into the Lac-Megantic disaster.

  3. Ezra Levant has an ability to snoop out things that others overlook. Perhaps his suspicion will be proved correct on this one.

    It’s one thing for anonymous braggarts to make a claim online. It’s
    another to build a blockade on the train tracks and put out a press
    release. But that’s exactly what an extremist group in Maine did two
    weeks ago. They swore they’d stop trains of oil from North Dakota headed
    for Canada – just like the one that blew up in Lac-Megantic.

    The group is called 350 Maine and they blockaded the railway into the dead of night, until police finally arrested six of them.

    The actions of 350 Maine are part of a U.S. campaign that’s called
    Fearless Summer. In Canada it’s called Sovereignty Summer. Same tactics,
    same funders, same organizers. It’s “direct action” against oil

    Their typical tactic is violence against property and defiance of
    police. An exploding fireball that kills people is not in their
    playbook. But what if some activist thought he was simply sabotaging a
    train to cause it to leak oil or to fall off the rails – no risk to life
    – but instead it accidentally went hurtling into a town to explode?
    That’s the thing about industrial vandalism – it doesn’t always go as

    Did some overly passionate Fearless Summer activist come up from Maine
    to finish the job? Did some of the activists from the Enbridge pumping
    station go to Quebec for a project? We don’t know. Like Thomas Mulcair,
    we’re still guessing. But it is a public fact that the oil industry is
    under attack both north and south of the border and anti-oil anarchists
    brag about sabotaging trains.

    The question for Quebec investigators is whether they’ll follow up with
    avowed, law-breaking enemies of oil trains – or just keep pretending
    they don’t exist in a country as civilized as ours.

  4. Claude Mongeau, CN chief executive, warned the unusual sequence of
    events that led to the disaster in the Quebec town earlier this month
    has yet to be determined.

    “We don’t know at this point exactly what happened,” Mr Mongeau said
    on a conference call Monday. “Suffice it to say, it’s much more
    complicated than just finding out how many handbrakes were set.”

    We don’t know at this point exactly what happened

    He said there were many questions remaining, including what caused
    the fire in the locomotive, why the air in the independent brakes let
    out in minutes not hours, and why the required reset safety control did
    not play a role in stopping the train.

  5. Ohh this is going to make all the lefties, including the media gang who were attacking LIsa Raitt extremly unhappy. Wasn’t in the job a week and they were biotching about her inaction on this file. Now what will they say? It won’t be praise. Partisan hacks!