Safe Rail Communities is excited to launch this non-partisan report card to offer Canadians the knowledge they need to make informed decisions in the lead-up to the October 2019 federal election. To collect the info required for this report card, we sent a letter in July 2019 to each of the major federal parties, asking them to share with us their strategy to address existing gaps to rail safety with respect to the transportation of dangerous goods and to demonstrate an understanding of the issue. We were also interested to see how closely each party’s commitments align with SRC recommendations. Responses from the parties helped inform our grading for the report card. Please click here to view our letters and their responses.
Our report card includes two charts, an Action chart and a Commitment chart. The Action chart outlines actions taken by the current and previous governing parties with respect to rail safety, following the July 6, 2013 rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic. The Commitment chart outlines commitments made by each of the four major federal parties in response to Safe Rail Communities’ July 2019 letter requesting clear policies to address rail safety.
There are two sections of our report: the summary section (which includes this introduction, our methodology, and the Action and Commitment charts), and the educational section. The educational section includes a full detailed chart that explains our grading.
The grades given in the Action chart were based on actions taken by parties who were in power since Lac-Mégantic. It should be noted that the Conservative Party of Canada was the governing party on the day of the Lac- Mégantic rail disaster. It should also be noted that the language of enforcement in the action chart is weak, and targets for impacts of change are either weak or vague.
Grades given in the Commitment chart were informed by the responses that each of the four major federal parties provided to our July 2019 letter. Our primary focus was on rail safety with respect to the transportation of dangerous goods.
Every four years, Canadians have an opportunity to give voice to issues of concern. It is our hope that those concerned about rail safety will find the SRC Report Card useful in informing their voting decisions. Canadians in rail communities across this country look to our federal government to act on our behalf, to protect us, our families, and our neighbours. Public safety must come first. Together we can be a strong voice in advocating for meaningful change.
Keep it safe,
The Safe Rail Communities Team