OTTAWA, July 8, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, visited Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, and made the following statement:
"From my heart, as a Canadian and fellow resident of Quebec, I would like to express my sympathies to those who have been affected by these devastating events in Lac-Mégantic.
"I have been deeply moved by what I have seen today, and over the past few days.
"As a former Mayor I know that tragedy brings tears to a community, but with those tears come a generous, neighbourly spirit and a determination to move forward."I am impressed by the courage and resilience of the people of this town, and am grateful also to all those who have come here to help. "Transport Canada officials have been on the ground and in active contact with local authorities and The Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway from the time the derailment occurred. "We are cooperating fully with the Transportation Safety Board's investigation. "And I have appointed an observer to keep me informed of the progress of the investigation. I will not hesitate to take immediate action should any safety deficiencies be identified. "Over the past few days, there have been, very understandably, a number of questions about whether we are doing enough to keep our railways safe. "Since 2007, train accidents in Canada have gone down by 23 percent and train derailments are down by 26 percent. "But of course we cannot rest on our laurels, especially when we see the devastating effects of this tragedy.