Mr. Chair, I don't need to repeat what I said earlier. I will move my motion again. It's in front of you. I don't need to read it out again.
I do, though, want to highlight a few areas, one of which is examining whether the phasing out and replacement of tanker cars like those of the DOT-111 design is required. I want to point out that several times the Transportation Safety Board has highlighted problems with these kinds of cars, once in Cornwall, once in Maxville, and another time in a derailment in Saint-Romuald, Quebec. A train was bound for Montreal and it derailed. They said very clearly that because these kinds of trains were used, that is, these tanker cars, there was a significant spill of hydrocarbons when the tank shells and the heads were breached, even though the derailment happened in a marshy area where the surrounding terrain was particularly soft. The TSB has also investigated and reviewed other instances of the vulnerability of this type of car being punctured even in low-speed accidents.
The Canadian Transportation Safety Board's findings were echoed by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. It also recommended, after reviewing six or seven derailments, that there should be “modification of bottom outlet valves on DOT-111 tank cars used to transport hazardous materials”, etc., and that had that been done “the release of hazardous materials likely would have been significantly reduced, mitigating the severity of the accident.” I point that out to say that whether it's now or later, I think Transport Canada needs to grapple with how to phase out the use of these DOT-111 cars.
The Transportation Safety Board further has said, looking at other recommendations, that it needs to “coordinate with the appropriate provincial authorities to require that tank trucks placarded for the transport of dangerous goods stop at all public crossings before proceeding.” It had asked for “locomotive data recorders to include on board voice recording systems”, and these requests have been ongoing since 1999. It also has asked for “other recommendations, including those on grade crossing regulations... ground hazard research...non-pressurized tank car construction standards”, etc., one of which said that Transport Canada “has deferred railway crossing safety assessments of the Quebec-Windsor corridor to rail companies.”
There are substantive recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board in front of us. They have said several times, in studying different derailments, that these things need to be done in order to improve rail safety.
I've already talked about the Auditor General's report. It is just not acceptable to my mind that we not see any results of the Auditor General's recommendations until April 2014, even though the deadline was supposed to be April 2013.
Whether it's having a quality assurance program, clarifying the rules and responsibilities regarding dangerous goods inspection, or developing a system to measure and report laws, all of these things need to be done now. So I am urging my colleagues to put aside their talking points and look at the recommendations in front of us and take the time.
In summer we do have some time. When the transport committee resumes at the end of September, if there's no prorogation, it will be looking at an infrastructure study. We do have some time between now and September 16 to consider some of these recommendations, which have been in front of us for several years now, and to ask Transport Canada what their timeline is to get these things done. It does not take people away from the front line, contrary to what my colleagues have said. It does not require any number of Transportation Safety Board investigators or police officers. We don't need police officers or any number of people in front of us who are investigating what is happening in Lac-Mégantic. That's not what we're talking about. I just want to say that over and over again. Let's not confuse what I'm proposing now...that we want this to be investigated in Lac-Mégantic. That's not what we are talking about. We are talking about the road map provided to us by the experts who are already in front of us, and we should work together to get it done.
I do hope that my Conservative and Liberal colleagues will come to the conclusion to support these recommendations.