The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster
The July 6, 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster is a tragedy unparalleled in Canadian history. It resulted in major loss of life, massive environmental destruction and the evisceration of a small Quebec town. Blame landed squarely on the shoulders of three front-line employees of the Montreal, Maine, and Atlantic Railway Company. But a jury acquitted them.
Lac-Mégantic is the story of a rail industry writing its own rules, a booming US oil industry based on fracking, fighting any obstacles to selling their dangerous product, and a rogue US railway operator cutting corners to make his fortune.
At another level the story is about a federal government blinded by its own free market ideology, fixated on making Canada an energy superpower, and compliant bureaucrats failing to protect the public interest.
At the heart of it all is a small, tight-knit community torn apart and struggling to recover. There is unimaginable loss, broken lives and families, and individual and collective trauma. But there is also healing, solidarity, commemoration, remembrance, and the determination to rebuild and transcend.
This book uncovers the truth about Lac-Mégantic. It includes first person interviews with many of the key players, analysis of the corporate executives and the companies involved, an examination of the complex world of transport safety regulation in Canada, and an account of the trials of the three accused.