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Statement by the Prime Minister to mark 10 years since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy

CANADA, May 7 - The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement to mark 10 years since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy:

“A decade ago today, one of the worst rail disasters in Canadian history took place when a freight train carrying crude oil derailed, caught fire, and exploded in the heart of the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The tragedy took the lives of 47 people, forced hundreds of residents to evacuate, and destroyed much of the community’s downtown core.

“On this solemn day, we remember the precious lives that were lost and think of the people of Lac-Mégantic who, 10 years later, continue to display strength and bravery as they endure the long-lasting traumatic impacts of this catastrophe.

“Since the disaster, we have prioritized strengthening rail safety across the country, including by introducing stronger measures and requirements to protect communities living along railway lines. From hiring more Railway Safety and Transportation of Dangerous Goods inspectors, to reducing train speeds, to increasing the rate of inspections, we are making sure Canadians travelling by train or living near a railway are safe. We also reaffirm our commitment to continue working with the Government of Quebec, nearby communities, and local residents toward the completion of the Lac-Mégantic Rail Bypass Project, which will reroute trains away from downtown so that this tragedy never reoccurs.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I encourage all Canadians to remember those who tragically lost their lives 10 years ago. To the residents of Lac-Mégantic whose lives changed overnight: your resilience is an inspiration to us all. Canadians are, and will always be, with you.”