Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says the government continues to hope the strike at Canadian National Railway can be resolved by the workers and company on their own.
She told reporters at Canadian Western Agribition in Regina that all options are on the table, but there is no timeline for when the government might intervene.
“We still believe in the negotiation process. They are still around the table and we are pushing both parties to come to an agreement. This would be the best for every party and the fastest solution as well.”
She said the impacts are far-reaching and nation-wide. For example, the lack of propane shipments to some parts of the country will place the lives of animals at risk.
“It’s also a matter of Canadian reputation and reliability on our agricultural products so I’m making sure my colleagues understand that very, very well,” Bibeau said.
She was meeting with her provincial counterpart David Marit and cattle sector leaders after touring the show at Agribition to discuss the strike and other topics, such as re-opening China to Canadian canola and the carbon tax on grain-drying bills.
Marit said the strike at CN was his top priority for the discussion.
“We’re into seven days,” he observed. “We’ll be stressing the urgency of the parties getting back together and, if not, for the federal government to intervene.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has urged Parliament to reconvene before the scheduled Dec. 5 start to deal with the issue but Bibeau would not comment on that possibility.
She did however say farmers should be recognized for their work to curb greenhouse gas emissions and she was working on the issue of the carbon tax on natural gas and propane for grain drying.
Marit said that was encouraging.
“Frankly I think a lot of people don’t see that impact until they see a farmer’s bill and I think there’s a lot of decision makers who don’t know what that impact is,” he said.
Marit burned the CWA brand to officially open the show and also announced, on behalf of both governments, that applications were open for the second round of the Next Gen Agriculture mentorship program.
The governments provided $100,000 through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership for 18-month mentorships for eight young agricultural entrepreneurs to learn about the industry, governance and other aspects of the business.