Demand Regulation of Canada’s Oil-by-Rail Policies

Target: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

Goal: Enact stricter safety regulations for Canada’s privatized railway industry

In light of Quebec’s recent Lac-Mégantic oil train explosion that has most likely claimed 50 lives, Canada needs to seriously re-examine its policies regarding the transport of crude oil via the railway system. While what happened in that small, rural town is a tragic accident, it can also be a wake-up call to a corporate-run railway industry that is in desperate need of regulation. Please sign this petition and call for immediate regulation of Canada’s methods of transporting crude oil.

In 2009, fossil fuel companies shipped 500 carloads of crude oil by railway in Canada, which is a fraction of the 140,000 carloads that will travel through the country’s rails by the end of this year. According to Guardian journalist Martin Lukacs, because the derailed train’s crude oil cargo is just a part of the recent fossil fuel boom, what happened in Quebec is not just a tragedy but a corporate crime scene.

Before the mid 1980s Canada’s publicly-run railway system was heavily regulated, but when conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney took over, things took a turn for the worst. Canada’s railway became deregulated, giving corporations the freedom to write their own safety standards. This corporate authority resulted in the full privatization of rail-lines, along with huge layoffs and cost-cutting measures. In order to prevent another tragedy like the one in Quebec, please urge Canada’s prime minister to bring safety regulations back to their railway system.


Dear Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper,

In the wake of the recent tragedy in Quebec, it is an opportune time to both grieve and take measures to ensure that this accident will never happen again. The oil train explosion highlights the need for regulation of Canada’s railway industry, especially policies concerning the transport of crude oil.

Deregulation and the boom of extremely invasive methods of extracting oil and gas, like the shale oil from North Dakota that contributed to the recent explosion, have led to a railway industry vulnerable to accidents like the one in Quebec. At the end of 2013 140,000 carloads of crude oil will travel through Canada via train, compare that to the 500 carloads shipped in 2009. Canada’s completely privatized rail industry lacks the right kind of safety regulation to keep up with the fossil fuel boom.

And now with talks of transporting energy sources like fracked, shale oil by truck and even by waterway, given what has happened to the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, safety should be priority number one. Please do your part in preventing an accident like this from ever occurring again and regulate your country’s railways.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Michael Frei via Wikimedia Commons

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67 Signatures

  • Darlene Roepke
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  • Ann Blank
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