Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to speak with you today.
I hope to answer any questions that you may have regarding my private member's bill, Bill C-627, an act to amend the Railway Safety Act, safety of persons and property.
Mr. Chair, I am very happy to have the opportunity to speak to you today about my bill, Bill C-627, and of course, to answer the questions of the members of the committee.
As you know, the security of transportation in general and rail safety in particular is one of the priorities of our government.
The recent catastrophe of Lac-Mégantic and the recent tragedy in northern Ontario underlines and reminds us one more time of the necessity to have a secure and safe rail system and to improve the supervision and control of the rail operations as a whole.
As I was saying, the recent catastrophes underline and remind us one more time of the necessity to have a secure and safe rail system and to improve the supervision and control of rail operations.
I would like to highlight the excellent work of your committee, Mr. Chair, and the leadership of the Minister of Transport, Minister Raitt, who reacted in such an efficient and effective way to gaps identified in the system.
I have found another gap that I would like to fill.
Indeed, the current legislation does not allow the minister or rail crossing inspectors to close a rail crossing when it presents a risk for pedestrians, cyclists, persons in wheelchairs, or vehicles.
My private member's bill will improve that situation for the entire population.
I have heard loud and clear from my constituents that rail safety is an issue that matters to them. As a servant of Winnipeg South Centre, I share in this vision of wanting to see our crossings safe, whether for a child riding a bike, a senior in a wheelchair, or any vehicle.
Rail crossings criss-cross my riding and the safety of them can be enhanced. That's why I chose to use my private member's bill to achieve greater rail safety in my constituency with a happy consequence that all Canadians across this great country will be safer and more secure because of my bill.
My bill is about prevention and proposes to enhance the Railway Safety Act by seeking to give additional powers to the Minister of Transport, so she may intervene when required in order to better ensure the safety of citizens, property, and communities. Additionally, this proposed legislation seeks to empower railway safety inspectors, so they may quickly intervene to restrict the use of unsafe works and equipment, and to forbid or restrict the use of unsafe crossing works and road crossings.
My bill is about prevention and its objective is to solve problems before they occur. The notification provisions propose to improve the Railway Safety Act by seeking to give additional powers to the Minister of Transport, so that she may intervene when required in order to better ensure the safety of citizens, property and communities.
Additionally, this proposed legislation seeks to empower inspectors to quickly intervene to stop the use of unsafe crossing works and equipment, and to forbid or restrict the use of unsafe crossing works and road crossings.
I'm sure we will go into a discussion about the details later, but what I propose is that the minister and her inspectors have the power to shut down a railway crossing, if necessary, if the safety and security of any Canadian is at risk.
I hope all parties support me on this bill.
I thank you very much, Mr. Chair, for your kind attention and it will now be my pleasure to answer any questions you and your colleagues may have.