Farmers’ hopes of finally getting their grain to market were slashed last night after the government refused to take action on the grain transportation crisis, reaching from the Prairies to the Port of Vancouver.
“Western grain farmers have a bumper crop, but no money because they cannot move their crop to market,” NDP Agriculture Critic Malcolm Allen said yesterday in the House of Commons. “Yet the Minister seems to think studying the rail backlog is a good use of everyone's time and that the solution is for farmers to take on more debt.
Despite the repeated calls from farmers for the government to intervene, the Conservatives’ only response has been to suggest that farmers apply for advances and propose a five-year investigation into the source of the problem. Meanwhile, farmers’ are facing mounting bills and tanking prices as a result of Canada’s severely backlogged grain transportation system.
“This really is about an emergency now, not in three or five years. Additional reports will not move one more bushel of grain off the Prairies,” said Allen. “Clearly, the obligation is on the government to show initiative, to make a decision and to act.”
The NDP is calling on the government to put real pressure on the rail companies to get our grains moving, including the implementation and enforcement of rail performance standards. Grain producers must also have timely access to export and vessel information and fair access to rail infrastructure in order to move their product.