Transportation bill in peril as it stalls in Senate

Western grain shippers are getting nervous as Bill C-49 sits in the Senate with diminishing chances it will receive royal assent before Christmas.

The Transportation Modernization Act received third reading in the House of Commons and moved to the Senate Nov. 2. Since then, it has been stalled at the second reading stage.

Both houses rise for the holiday break Dec. 15 and don’t return until the end of January. That would push passage of the bill to February at the earliest.

Senators contacted on this issue have not yet replied.

Agricultural shippers had urged swift passing of the legislation, and Wade Sobkowich from the Western Grain Elevators Association said they are concerned that it appears “slow tracked.”

“Shippers have been without extended interswitching for over four months and we are anxious to put long haul interswitching to use,” he said. “Shippers are also champing at the bit to establish service level agreements with true reciprocal penalties with the rail carriers.”

Canadian Federation of Agriculture president Ron Bonnett said he hasn’t heard why the bill has been held up, but he did note it contains much more than grain transport rules, and that complexity could be a reason.

He said if the bill isn’t going to be passed until next spring, then grain shippers need interim measures.

“What is the hammer to make sure that there’s performance taking place,” he said.

“If there’s going to be a lengthy delay like that, that would be one of the things we would be looking at.”

Bonnett said the simplest way to do that would be to re-instate the former legislation until Bill C-49 can be passed.

The industry does not want a repeat of the 2013-14 winter when a transportation backlog resulted in billions of dollars of losses and caused the federal government to intervene.

The most recent grain monitor report from Quorum Corp. shows year-to-date grain unloads at port to be three percent lower than the same time last year.


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  • Joe Hueglin

    Was this a problem prior to the Privatization of the Canadian Wheat Boards ?

    • ed

      No it was not. You know that, I know that and any one with a brain knows that. This is like loading up a basement nightclub with too many people, and then having the stage show start the joint on fire. Without some good common sense ahead of the event, the results of the disorganization can lead to a very poor result and everyone pointing fingers at each other as to how and why it happened. Too late really, you are best to go back to what was working due to 100 years of applied wisdom. Not alot of that around any more, but we should still use what we can find. Right! Farmers need to educate themselves rather than just do what their told.

    • Happy Farmer

      I checked with my Grandpa and my dad on this transportation issue. Both assured me it has always been a problem as long as they can remember. CWB, during or after has not changed anything to any degree with regards to transportation issues.

      • ed

        Russia attempted to run their orchestras with no conductors for awhile. That as you “should” quite imagine did not work,…at all. Some people would have a tough time understanding that however if they know nothing about music or basic logistics.

        • old grouchy

          Mr Ed – – – you actually ‘can’ run an orchestra without a conductor. Now mind you that’s not going to be a ‘large orchestra’ but whatever (it would seem that orchestral music really isn’t your thing) . . . there are a lot of things that go into leadership.

          What is very clear is that the railway companies aren’t about getting things done – – – its about making as much money as possible doing as little as they can get away with instead.

          What they have forgotten – – – what they do is somewhat like plucking down from a goose. Pull somewhat of it and the goose ‘will’ forgive you – – – too much – – – well, you kill the goose. I would suggest its time to find an alternative to those bureaucratically imposed messes called ‘railroads’.

        • Harold

          Who were the “conductors” which left the “orchestras” and for what “while”. Your comment is confusing and not to the point; would this have something to do with my inability to understand?

          • ed


          • Harold

            You answered the easy question indecisively and avoided the hard one completely.

          • ed


  • old grouchy

    And CN and CP are collectively laughing their heads off – – – – all the way to the bank!

  • Harold

    When corporations are split into Shares, what do you think happens, and who are the Share Holders; are they the public of Canada and their interests? Bill Gates – Mr. USA – is the major Share Holder of CN; I wonder who’s interests Canadians are serving and where Bill Gates got his PC money to purchase those Shares? It seems that Mr. Gates has a lot of Canadian control – doesn’t he – and proper Canadian legislation would have prevented it – wouldn’t it have. You can spend your time talking about plucking a goose or an orchestra without a conductor, but you are not even close the any real Canadian threat; what has really been forgotten and by whom? What is the alternative to an entire railway already owned; a duplicate side by side track – and who has the money to pay for it all? When our government gives something away – it is gone – and it is only our ignorance, stupidity, inaction, and blind trust in government that allows them to do it. The word Canadian in CP and CN is a modern day misconception; Canada has no borders or Canadian ownership; none that the government in the past have supported or in the present will support. Every election has only placed the Corporate deeper into the government and each time has pushed us the people further away from achieving our goals.

    • old grouchy

      OK – – – I’ll bite – – – what have YOU done to push back against the encroachment of the corporate beast into our bureaucracies?

      Railing against this encroachment is sort of useful but action is needed.

      • Harold

        Thanks for your comment. I live amongst people who in the majority do not even know that their own Rights and Freedoms even exist in Canada and therefore I have no choice but to be dragged down into the gutter with them. In a democracy I only have one vote and one voice and that single vote carries with it no weight. What I have done or have attempted to do is to open people up to the existence of their power but in the most part it has been in vain because people would rather believe that government servitude is the only thing that is real. The “action” that is needed is the public to educate themselves and I cannot make anyone read or turn the pages. If you only know defeat then defeat is the only thing that has been taught to you. How does one behave when they believe that they do not have Rights and Freedoms even though in reality, but unknown to them, they do? You are seeing it played out right before your very eyes and to them they see failure as being totally normal and the mechanics of their failure trustworthy enough to repeat. (no avail)
        Do you know what your undeniable rights and freedoms are and what your remedy is if you are ever denied any of your Rights or Freedoms? I think not, but then neither does the politicians that we have elected or do your neighbors know them either. 56 articles written in the Supreme Laws of the Canadian Constitution and in majority no one has even taken the time to read them or to memorize them or to examine them and yet they claim that nothing can be done. One thousand people with those words on their lips are very powerful and demanding people and that is why the schools in betrayal avoid focusing upon them and place the focus elsewhere. You do not know your Rights and Freedoms only because the Government does not wish you to know them so you have to take it upon yourself to know them and I cannot will anyone to do it – not even you.

  • ed

    Probably could run an orchestra with no conductor, the railways do, right. Alternatives for transport could be drone delivery? And that type of music has always been my favorite, as long as it is orderly!


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