Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the comments of the hon. member for Chicoutimi with respect to the railway accidents at Brighton and Rimouski.
I would like to start by saying I probably travel more by train than any other member in this House and, incidentally, my father was on the train going to the Gaspé when it jumped the tracks, so what the hon. member said touched a personal chord.
I have nothing to add to what was said by the Department of Transport last week. Emergency exits, first aid kits and emergency evacuation procedures are all matters of concern. I may remind hon. members that the Minister of Transport, the government, VIA Rail and Transport Canada see these elements as a priority and intend to ensure there is a thorough investigation.
However, the Transportation Safety Board, as the minister pointed out, is the body that was created by Parliament to investigate transportation accidents, which it is doing in this particular case. If the investigation reveals any irregularities with respect to the ability to intervene, it will be in a position to advise Transport Canada immediately.
The police forces concerned, both the VIA Rail contingent and the public police forces, are either conducting their own investigations or pooling their efforts, as well as stepping up the application of regulations and their own readiness. Furthermore, VIA Rail has already started a preliminary review of the accident and internal procedures.
In concluding, I would like to quote what was said by the minister: "We are going to do everything we can at VIA Rail, at Transport Canada, and at the police forces. Every possible avenue will be explored to make sure that the people who travel in Canada on VIA Rail trains can do so in safety and security".