MP Leon Benoit’s Role in Rail Yard
Although the Alberta Government (Alberta Environment) and the County of Strathcona have a number of responsibilities associated with the siting of rail yards, it is primarily the federal government that has jurisdictional responsibility for this and other railway matters. Knowing this, we contacted our Member of Parliament (MP), Mr. Leon Benoit, as soon as we found out by accident about the plans by Cando Contracting Ltd., Canadian National Railway and Imperial Oil to build a rail yard in our community. We first contacted Mr. Benoit on May 14, 2010, two days after we learned of the plans. We then contacted Mr. Benoit several more times, before finally receiving a telephone call from him on July 8, 2010 indicating that the federal government had no responsibilities associated with construction of rail yards. Based on our research, we knew this was not so.
During our July 8 phone conversation, Mr. Benoit promised to look into the matter on our behalf. He asked for more background information, so in addition to all of the other information we had already provided to him, we forwarded more information. That was more than 3 months ago, and we have yet to receive any word from our MP, in spite of numerous additional attempts on our part.
One would think, because this rail yard is affecting our health, safety, property values, quality of life and 2 adjacent wildlife conservation areas, that our MP would take an interest in our plight, particularly since rail yards fall primarily under federal authorities. To date, Mr. Benoit has shown little interest in helping us. Our community will remember this during the next federal election.