Open Letter to Minister MacAulay

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
1341 Baseline Road
Tower 7, Floor 9, Room 149
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C5 April 25th, 2018

Dear Minister,

This past winter, declines in railway service saw performance numbers drop dramatically resulting in the worst backlog in years. This backlog has put contracts in jeopardy, caused mounting demurrage costs and damaged Canada’s reputation as a reliable grain exporter.

As some $500 million in grain remains stranded in the prairies, stakeholders have called for the railways to cover demurrage fees caused by their admitted poor rail service. In February, when we saw the poorest service levels, wheat and canola exports plunged by 40 per cent.

The Senate has adopted reasonable amendments to Bill C-49 that are supported by shippers, farmers and agriculture groups across Canada. These proposed improvements aim to bring further accountability and competition with hopes of dissolving the current imbalance between shipper and railway, as all involved parties work towards preventing another future grain backlog.

Each week, farm groups, stakeholders and shippers have been urging the Government to accept the Senate revisions and recognize the urgency of implementation prior to the House rising for summer and before the next grain shipping season.

As the Official Opposition Party, under the strong leadership of Andrew Scheer, we will continue to stand up for Canadian shippers and farmers to have access to a logistics system that gets their products to market in a predictable and timely way.

As the Minister of Agriculture, it is your responsibility to defend the rights and interests of farmers in Bill C-49 and ensure their pleads are heard at the Liberal cabinet table.

Sincerely,

 

John Barlow
Member of Parliament for Foothills
Shadow Minister for Agriculture

 

Luc Berthold
Member of Parliament for Mégantic—L’Érable
Shadow Minister for Agriculture