December 8, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

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“A Great Lesson in Life and Resilience” to Genevieve Guilbault

“A Great Lesson in Life and Resilience” to Genevieve Guilbault

A spokeswoman for the coroner’s office, Genevieve Guilbald Locke-Megantic, experienced the tragedy up close before jumping into politics. Ten years later, the Deputy Prime Minister recalls the scene of devastation he witnessed, but also the great resilience of the people of Mégantic.

• Read more: 1h14 walk in memory of the victims

• Read more: 10 years after the Lac-Mégantic tragedy: “I don’t allow myself to cry”

On July 6, 2013, a Coroner’s Office team was quickly dispatched to the scene of a fatal train derailment in the small town of Lac-Megantic. No one could have expected to witness the greatest tragedy in Quebec’s history. It was only when she arrived on the scene that Genevieve Guilbault quickly realized the scale of the drama before her eyes.

“We didn’t know what awaited us when we got there. We packed our little things for two or three days. In the end, we stayed there for a month,” recalls Ms. Guilbald. “It was very complicated from a technical point of view because of the heat, but also on a human level it was an unprecedented situation. .

Identifying the bodies of the 47 dead and contacting their families has been a daunting task for the coroner’s office.

“We quickly developed a great close relationship. It was very special and I found it a great lesson in life and resilience,” she recalls.

Go to another step

Fortunately, the spokesperson for the coroner’s office at the time now occupies one of the highest positions in the Quebec government. Politics also plays a role in the progress of society. One should only think about the construction of the bypass which is the responsibility of the central government.

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“For the community, we feel it is important that this file is closed. […] We feel she needs to take action to give the impression that we are moving forward,” the Deputy Prime Minister notes.

But as Father Steve Lemay, who was in Lac-Mégantic in 2013 and marked the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, pointed out: We must move forward without forgetting the 47 victims. A thought goes out to all who were directly or indirectly affected by the events of Ms. Guilbault.

“We must never forget the survivors who are still indebted to these deaths. I am thinking, among other things, of the children [des victimes]. These are important steps that I don’t think we can avoid.”