OTTAWA — Canadian grain farmers want a plan to get grain moving within the next two weeks.
Representatives from regional and national organizations held a news conference on Parliament Hill yesterday to demand action on the rail bottleneck that threatens a repeat of 2013-14.
“Parliament is going to take a two-week break. We need a plan coming back,” said Canadian Federation of Agriculture president Ron Bonnett. “We need action and we need action now.”
That could include an order in council like the one passed in 2014 by the Conservative government to force the railways to move minimum volumes.
Service this year has been “a disaster”, said Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan president Todd Lewis.
CN’s service in Manitoba has been especially poor. Keystone Agricultural Producers president Dan Mazier said only 25 cars were delivered to the province earlier in February.
The organizations also want Bill C-49, still under Senate scrutiny, passed as soon as possible, although CN’s Janet Drysdale told the CFA annual meeting that the legislation wouldn’t have helped the current situation.
Conservative and NDP opposition MPs have called for an emergency hearing next week at the standing agriculture committee.
Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said the government is fully aware of the situation and has met with CN to discuss grain shipping.