Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa Not Yet Ready to Divulge What Dangerous Cargo Trains Are Carrying

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa Not Yet Ready to Divulge What Dangerous Cargo Trains Are Carrying

Article excerpt

Transport ministers demand more transparency

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WINNIPEG - Ottawa isn't ready to provide details about what hazardous materials trains are carrying through Canadian communities, despite universal demands from provincial transport ministers and municipalities for greater transparency.

Ministers meeting in Winnipeg on Wednesday said they want the federal government to require rail companies to be more transparent about the goods they carry so local authorities know exactly what hazardous materials are being shipped.

Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said she's open to listening to the concerns of her provincial colleagues, but she would not make a commitment.

"I look forward to hearing everything," she said as she hurried into the meeting. "I'm open to talking to everybody about what their concerns are and that's what part of today is about."

Provincial ministers said they are looking for more than a sympathetic ear.

Quebec Transportation Minister Sylvain Gaudreault said Ottawa must act quickly after the deadly derailment in Lac Megantic in his province. The July disaster devastated the town's core and killed 47 people.

All provinces support tougher rail safety regulations and it's up to the federal government now to respond immediately, Gaudreault said.

"The government of Canada should be inspired by what they're doing in the United States," he said.

"They are already taking steps to tighten up regulations. They accelerated the process after the tragedy in Lac Megantic. I hope the federal government will do the same thing."

At a bare minimum, Gaudreault said Ottawa should divulge exactly what trains are carrying.

"It's absolutely incredible that municipalities don't know what is passing through their territory," he said.

"Canadians are concerned because we have seen an increase in dangerous materials on railways for some years. …

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