Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions welcome back minister Bibeau as agriculture minister, say that first order of business should be to end the CN rail strike
(Calgary, Alberta) November 20, 2019 – The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions today welcomed the members of the 29th federal cabinet including the honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, who is returning to her previous role as minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The commissions also welcome back transport minister Marc Garneau and welcome Filomena Tassi in her new role as labour minister. With the new cabinet now in place, the commissions are calling for the federal government to reconvene parliament ahead of schedule to end the CN rail strike.
The Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference, which represents approximately 3,200 CN employees, announced strike action yesterday, further announcing that they will be winding down rail service. The commissions say it’s only a matter of days before the disruption in service will cause a serious backlog in Canada’s transportation system, causing serious economic consequences for farmers.
Yesterday provincial agriculture minister Devin Dreeshen and energy minister Sonya Savage also urged the federal government to reconvene parliament early. The commissions appreciate that the ministers acknowledged the urgency of the situation as well as the devastating effects that any rail delays would have on farmers.
The commissions are urging the government to immediately begin the process of introducing Back-to-Work legislation.
“With the new cabinet now in place, we need to see immediate action to avoid significant disruption of grain movement to our global markets. Rail delays not only cause cash flow issues for farmers but also threaten Canada’s reputation as a reliable supplier of grain.”
– Hannah Konschuh, Alberta Wheat Commission Vice-Chair
“The rail strike is compounding an already difficult year for farmers with harvest delays, market uncertainty and low prices. Many farmers are only able to access the CN line which means that interruptions in CN movement would have immediate implications on our income and global competitiveness.
– Dave Bishop, Alberta Barley Chair
The commissions also congratulate The Honourable Chrystia Freeland on her new role as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister. Minister Freeland has deep ties to agriculture and has demonstrated commitment to the industry throughout her political career.
The commissions look forward to continuing to work with the federal government to increase agri-food exports to at least $75 billion by 2025.