Madam Speaker, the member has got me going. I came back from dinner and was feeling a bit sleepy. He has woken me up and he will be sorry, he will come to regret it. I apologize to you, Madam Speaker.
In 1994, 158 derailments were reported on main tracks, a 24 per cent increase. I asked for newspaper clippings so that I could look over the accident headlines. I will not be able to mention them all, but I will cover the main ones. On February 5, 1996, Le Soleil carried the following story: ``CN claims there are fewer accidents. The Transportation Safety Board says the opposite. While the Transportation Safety Board of Canada reports an increase in train accidents in Canada in the last five years, Canadian National, now a private company, has statistics to show that the carrier has apparently had fewer accidents''.
I will quote from another article from Le Soleil dated February 5, 1996:
Steady increase in number of accidents over past five years''. I do not have a lot of time. Still from <em>Le Soleil</em> , this time from July 29, 1995:There is a terrible dispute over the results of
an investigation into the Transportation Safety Board and CN. They are not in agreement".
Obviously, when I asked him a question on the topic this week, the minister defended himself with statistics provided by CN. But his own railway safety bureau contradicts the people at CN. The Minister of Transport should use the data put out by his own department, but he prefers those produced by CN saying things are not so bad. They are making a business decision.
Madam Speaker, you come from New Brunswick, and I am sure your constituents in Edmunston are not happy when they think that if there is a railway problem, they will have to call Winnipeg. I know there is only one line in your riding connecting with the main track and that things will be held up until someone comes from Winnipeg to repair it. You know how far it is between Edmunston and Winnipeg. This decision is incredible.
Along with the Railway Safety Act, government is amending another act because it must do so every five years. They are trying to tell us that this is not serious, that everything is fine, and yet there are accidents.
I was saying that in Quebec there were ten times more defects than in certain regions. What I am proposing is that the Minister of Transport table a bill, that is right, but the people working in this service must be on the lookout. There must be planning in order to avoid accidents. Anyone who owns a car knows that proper maintenance is the way to avoid breakdowns. And that must be planned.
Right now, as far as the railway in Quebec is concerned, the service in question only repaired things that were not working well in order to prevent derailments. The shop in Charny lacked resources. It was so lacking in resources they had to work overtime, but that only depleted even more their resources. It was not enough. It had to subcontract half of its contracts in the Quebec region in order to try to repair the system.
But not enough is being done in the long term. Not enough is being done in terms of prevention. It is too bad that when we mention safety to people from the transport department, they talk to us about the number of accidents. It is like waiting for someone to get burned before you start worrying about fire prevention. It is the same thing.
We should be talking about the condition of the railway. We should be talking about the equipment we have, the number of people that should be assigned to correct the situation. I say that this government is slacking off on railway safety, and that a few changes to the act will not be enough to silence the member for Lévis, when they are eliminating 93 jobs in Charny.