Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas rose in the legislature yesterday morning, March 7th to question the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on efforts to restore the environment surrounding Gogama after a CN Railway freight train derailed causing an explosion and oil spill on the outskirts of the village one year ago:
“Mr. Speaker, Today is a very sad day, it is the first anniversary of the train derailment, the explosion and the oil spill in Gogama in my riding. The residents woke up at about 3 a.m. the morning of March 7 to a wall of flames that turned the sky orange; and the smell of burning oil.
“The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has been extremely quiet while the people of Gogama are seeing their real estate prices tank and they are concerned about their environment, their food and the water quality. The situation is bleak. This is the biggest train derailment in the history of Ontario, yet no amount of trouble or suffering seems to trigger a response from this government.
“The people of Gogama want to know when will the minister commit to standing up for them and answer a simple question: Are the fish caught in the Makami River safe to eat? Yes or no?”
The minister refused to answer Gélinas’ yes or no question, instead offering to share with her the ministry’s most recent lab data on the fish’s level of contamination.
On December 9th, 2015, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change ordered CN to pay Ministry expenses to the tune of $350,000 for incurred costs by the ministry. The people of Gogama are still waiting for government assistance and continue to press CN for compensation.