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Updated: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 13:33:12 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Lac-Mégantic cleanup to get as much as $95M from Ottawa



Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be in Lac-Mégantic on Thursday for an announcement related to the train derailment that devastated the small town in Québec last July. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be in Lac-Mégantic on Thursday for an announcement related to the train derailment that devastated the small town in Québec last July. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

The federal government will pay as much as 50 per cent of the decontamination costs in Lac-Mégantic, Que., to a maximum of $95 million, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in the town Thursday.

The Quebec government has estimated the cleanup costs following the train derailment that devastated the small Quebec town in July at $190 million.

The federal government will split the cleanup costs 50-50 with the province of Quebec.

Harper said today's financial contribution was "not final," and that the federal government is  open to re-evaluating its share of the cleanup costs should the final price tag be higher than expected.

"It's very possible the final costs will be more than $190 million, but those are the initial estimates by the government of Quebec. We will be here for the entire rebuilding process," Harper said.

The federal government has already committed $60 million to support recovery efforts in the small town.

Harper was joined by International Development Minister Christian Paradis, who is also the MP for Mégantic-L'Érable, and Lac-Mégantic Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced on Wednesday that the federal government will now require railway companies to inform the communities their trains run through of the dangerous goods they are carrying.

72 tankers spilled

Canadian Class 1 railway companies will have to report that information every three months while other companies will have to do so on an annual basis.

The train that derailed in Lac-Mégantic was carrying 72 tankers full of crude oil causing a series of explosions that killed 47 people and ripped the small community apart.

The timing of Harper's announcement in Lac-Mégantic will make it difficult for the prime minister to be back in Ottawa for question period at 2:30 p.m.

The Opposition New Democrats are expected to ask the Conservatives about the allegations contained in court documents filed by the RCMP about the Mike Duffy expenses scandal.

Harper's former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, and Duffy are alleged to have committed bribery, fraud on the government, and breach of trust between February and May 2013, according to the RCMP.

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