October 22, 2013
Honourable senators, around 1:15 in the morning of July 6, 2013, a train carrying 72 tankers of crude oil and five locomotives derailed in the heart of downtown Lac-Mégantic. What followed was a tragedy of unimaginable proportion. The explosions came one after the other as tanker cars burst into flame. The fire raged for close to four hours. At daylight, the people of Lac-Mégantic came face to face with a town in ruins and a list of the missing.
The extent of the devastation is beyond words. We know only that the events of that night will stay with the people of Lac- Mégantic for generations to come. Plans to erect a memorial on site are in progress, as are discussions to rebuild the heart of the downtown that was destroyed. But the horror of that day will not be forgotten, not in Lac-Mégantic, not in Quebec and not in Canada.
This terrible tragedy raised a number of important questions that we could address here today. However, I will limit my initial comments to simply paying tribute — from the bottom of my heart — to the people of Lac-Mégantic, those who lost their lives as well as the grieving loved ones left behind.
I invite all honourable senators to join me in honouring the memory of the 47 people who were lost in the Lac-Mégantic disaster on July 6, 2013.