Lac-Mégantic: the reaction of the citizens hailed

News 20 January, 2018
    John Demaître, accused.

    QMI agency

    Saturday, 20 January, 2018 15:17

    Saturday, 20 January, 2018 15:17

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    The mayor of Lac-Mégantic welcomed on Saturday the reaction of his fellow citizens after the announcement of the acquittal of the three ex-employees of the MMA accused of criminal negligence causing the death of the 47 victims of the tragedy of Lac-Mégantic.

    Friday, at the end of the trial, which began on 2 October, the jury rendered a verdict of not guilty in the place of Thomas Harding, the train driver of the oil, the ex-controller Richard Labrie, who was managing the rail traffic during the night incendiary, as well as the former director of transportation John Demaître.

    “The citizens of Lac-Mégantic have had a reaction very mature to the verdicts that have been announced, informed the mayor Julie Morin in an interview with LCN. What happened in Lac-Mégantic, this is not easy and it continues daily yet. We remember those people we lost and it was the big scar right in the city centre that you see every day.”

    Ms. Morin is pleased to see citizens who are able to take a step back and not seek a culprit. “We are in solution mode and this is what I want for the future,” added the mayor elected last November.

    Julie Morin also regrets that there has been “a lot of attention on this trial which sought guilty”.

    Robert Bellefleur, the Coalition committed citizen for a rail safety in Lac-Mégantic, said he was satisfied with the verdicts.

    “It is clear that it does not reduce the 47 victims of these verdicts. It will not relieve all the families. However, it allows us to have a few answers to our questions. It also allows us to turn the page.”

    Unanswered Questions

    Mr. Bellefleur is estimated that some questions remained without answer until now. “Who organized and financed the transportation of this oil that is highly flammable in the Dakota, but who has been labelled as non-flammable and transported in tanks […] recognized unsafe? That has allowed the MMA to operate trains with a single employee?”

    According to him, it is in the “high place that we can find more great managers.”

    Just as the mayor of Lac-Mégantic, Robert Bellefleur complains that nothing has changed since this tragedy. “We parked further convoys to Nantes, at the top of the slope, in the same place where is departed the death train,” he said.

    Bypass and public inquiry

    In addition to the bypass route claimed by several, Robert Bellefleur also requires a public inquiry. “This is the only way to have more responses from all stakeholders”, he started, stating that it “would largely avoid other tragedies”.

    Early in the night, July 6, 2013, a train of 72 tankers filled with crude oil left unattended on the road to Nantes, is set in motion from floating on a dozen kilometres and derailed in downtown Lac-Mégantic.

    Richard Labrie, Jean Demaître and Thomas Harding worked for the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MMA) when the train loaded with crude oil, locked in Nantes, roared down the slope and derailed at 101 km/h in the city centre of Megantic, causing multiple explosions and the deaths of 47 people.