New Democrats blast Conservatives for ignoring rail safety
Conservatives have ignored recommendations for life-saving technology for years
OTTAWA – New Democrats today blasted the Conservatives for dragging their feet on rail safety after the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) echoed calls by independent experts for concrete steps to ensure the safety of Canadian rail travellers.
“Today’s statement from the TSB shows that the Conservatives are on the wrong track,” said New Democrat Transport Critic Olivia Chow. “The Conservatives need to act now so families can trust that the trains they are riding on are as safe as they can be.”
Chow said that, while railways in Canada are relatively safe, last month’s tragic derailment in Burlington proves that accidents still do occur. She criticized the Conservatives for repeatedly ignoring TSB calls for Positive Train Control and voice recorders on locomotives.
Positive Train Control—already mandatory on trains in the US—has the ability to slow speeding trains and prevent accidents.
Without concrete steps, the TSB and independent experts warn that “the risk of a serious train collision or derailment remains.” New Democrats are calling on the Conservatives to listen to the TSB’s advice, and also to reverse its reckless $200 million cut to Via Rail’s budget.
“Instead of listening to the experts on how to improve rail safety, the Conservatives have been ignoring them for years,” said New Democrat MP Elaine Michaud. “Now is the time for action to protect Canadian lives and prevent future tragedies.”