The National Farmers Union (NFU), and a coalition of Saskatchewan farm groups, are disappointed with a report prepared by the panel that reviewed the Canadian Transportation Act.
“The CTA review was carried out by the previous government’s appointees, and its results predictably reflect an alignment with CN, CP and the multinational grain companies regarding grain transportation, contrary to the interests of farmers,” NFU president Jan Slomp said in a news release March 1. “Our current government is not required to adopt any of the CTA review’s recommendations. However, it does need to ensure the railways carry out their statutory common carrier obligations, which are a critical part of the Canadian rail system.”
The NFU is urging the government to retain the Maximum Revenue Entitlement (MRE) and review the railways’ costs for shipping grain.
A coalition made up of the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission and the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), says the report is flawed.
“This report shows a complete disregard and lack of understanding of the financial implications for farmers and the harm these recommendations would cause to provincial economies,” SaskWheat chair Bill Gehl said in a coalition news release.
The report’s recommendations show farmers weren’t listened to, said SaskBarley chair Jason Skotheim.
“Producers are willing to pay their share for rail service, but will suffer significant economic and structural damage if they are subject to uncontrolled railway rate pricing. It is critical we get this right and that the new government listens to producers before making any decisions,” he said.
The Liberals promised a rail costing review during the election and should follow through, added APAS president Norm Hall.