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Lac-Mégantic residents call on Trudeau to move forward on rail bypass

WATCH ABOVE: Quebec’s justice system is facing a crisis because of lengthy delays for criminal trials. As Amanda Jelowicki reports, that could affect the case against the man accused of being responsible for the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster.

Some Lac-Mégantic residents say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has failed in what they call his moral obligation to have a rail bypass built around the Quebec town.

READ MORE: Residents of Lac-Mégantic remember 3rd anniversary of train explosion that killed 47

A citizens’ group and opposition party members met in Ottawa on Wednesday to ask Trudeau to move forward on building a track that would redirect trains away from homes and businesses in the town.

READ MORE: Driver and owner of train in Lac-Mégantic disaster added to class action lawsuit

A spokesman for the group said Trudeau signed a petition calling for a bypass in 2013, just days after a runaway train derailed and exploded in the town’s downtown core, killing 47 people.

READ MORE: Lac-Megantic’s Musi-Cafe rises from the ashes

But Robert Bellefleur said Trudeau has largely stayed silent since then and has not answered the group’s requests to meet with him personally.

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WATCH BELOW: Remembering the victims of the Lac-Mégantic train derailment.

The group expressed frustration with Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s insistence on waiting for the results of a feasibility study before moving ahead with construction.

READ MORE: Rebuilding after the Lac-Mégantic train derailment

Garneau, who has met with the group twice since October 2015, said he understands the impatience but insists the process must follow the rules.

“When the study is completed we can decide, and if we can accelerate the process all the better,” he told reporters.

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Wrecked oil tankers and debris from a runaway train in Lac-Megantic, Que. are pictured July 8, 2013. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. is continuing its legal fight against a recent court decision that awards more than $430 million to victims and creditors of the Lac-Megantic train derailment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ho, SQ
Wrecked oil tankers and debris from a runaway train in Lac-Mégantic, Que. are pictured July 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ho, SQ
Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in Lac Megantic, Que., July 6, 2013. The Quebec town that was devastated in 2013 when a runaway train derailed and exploded, killing 47 people, will not pursue legal action against Canadian Pacific Railway.
Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in Lac Mégantic, Que., July 6, 2013. The Quebec town that was devastated in 2013 when a runaway train derailed and exploded, killing 47 people, will not pursue legal action against Canadian Pacific Railway. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
In this July 9, 2013 file photo, workers comb through debris after a train derailed causing explosions of railway cars carrying crude oil in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. A government watchdog says federal regulators are failing to refer serious safety violations involving freight rail shipments of crude oil for criminal prosecution.
In this July 9, 2013 file photo, workers comb through debris after a train derailed causing explosions of railway cars carrying crude oil in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. A government watchdog says federal regulators are failing to refer serious safety violations involving freight rail shipments of crude oil for criminal prosecution. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP, File
The downtown core lays in ruins as firefighters continue to water the smoldering rubble, Sunday, July 7, 2013 in Lac-Mégantic, Que. after a train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil. Transport Canada has approved rules intended to reduce the risk of runaway trains in response to recommendations by the Transportation Safety Board following the deadly derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Que.
The downtown core lays in ruins as firefighters continue to water the smoldering rubble, Sunday, July 7, 2013 in Lac-Mégantic, Que. after a train derailed igniting tanker cars carrying crude oil. Transport Canada has approved rules intended to reduce the risk of runaway trains in response to recommendations by the Transportation Safety Board following the deadly derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Former Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. employees Tom Harding, right, Jean Demaitre, centre, and Richard Labrie are escorted by police to appear in court in Lac-Megantic, Que., on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. The lawyer for the Harding, the train driver charged in the deadly Lac-Mégantic disaster, says Crown prosecutors are seeking to prevent his client from having a preliminary inquiry.
Former Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. employees Tom Harding, right, Jean Demaitre, centre, and Richard Labrie are escorted by police to appear in court in Lac-Mégantic, Que., on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. The lawyer for the Harding, the train driver charged in the deadly Lac-Mégantic disaster, says Crown prosecutors are seeking to prevent his client from having a preliminary inquiry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
This Feb. 16, 2015 photo provided by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada shows a ruptured tank car on fire after a crude oil train derailment south of south of Timmins, Ontario. An investigation into the recent derailment in Ontario of a freight train carrying crude oil suggests new safety standards introduced after the Lac-Mégantic, Que., tragedy are inadequate, Canada's transport investigator said Monday.
This Feb. 16, 2015 photo provided by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada shows a ruptured tank car on fire after a crude oil train derailment south of south of Timmins, Ontario. An investigation into the recent derailment in Ontario of a freight train carrying crude oil suggests new safety standards introduced after the Lac-Mégantic, Que., tragedy are inadequate, Canada's transport investigator said Monday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Quebec police investigating the Lac-Mégantic train disaster say they've visited the United States four times to seize documents and to interview witnesses - including railway chairman Ed Burkhardt.
Quebec police investigating the Lac-Mégantic train disaster say they've visited the United States four times to seize documents and to interview witnesses - including railway chairman Ed Burkhardt. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Firefighters from all over the province, and as far away as Maine, gather for a memorial mass in Lac-Megantic on July 6, 2014.
Firefighters from all over the province, and as far away as Maine, gather for a memorial mass in Lac-Mégantic on July 6, 2014 Billy Shields/Global News

That’s not fast enough for Bellefleur, who said the town’s residents are still suffering from the psychological effects of the tragedy.

READ MORE: Portrait of a tragedy: Montreal photographer documents Lac-Mégantic aftermath

“Maybe it’s not in the [Liberal] party’s program, but it’s a humanitarian issue and we need to follow up on it,” he said.