The Federal Liberals are holding a caucus retreat today in Saskatoon.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay are also taking time out to hold roundtable discussions with stakeholders in the grain industry.
A key focus for the grain industry has been Bill C49 that is still waiting on Parliamentary approval.
MacAulay acknowledges that grain transportation has been a big issue for farmers, adding that a lot of work has gone into Bill C49, but he admits that once it’s passed not everything is solved.
“We’re working continually to make sure we improve. Not only to be able to sell what we had last year, but to be able to sell what we’re going to produce in two or three years. This is an ongoing issue we must address. Ontime delivery is so vitally important in the agriculture sector. Simply if you do not provide it when your customer wants it, someone else will. We’re going to make sure we do that.”
He says the legislation will make sure that the railways spend more money, that we open probably double tracks, make sure we have more hopper cars.
He notes all these things need to be done including addressing the bottleneck issue in Vancouver.
He adds we have seen some progress within the industry.
“Without a question the grain companies have certainly expanded their operations they can load hopper cars in seconds. This is what we have to be able to do, as I said before, we have to be able to load the cars, move them, get them to the ports and to the people that want them in our markets, when they want them. That’s what we have to do and this is what we will do, but it means working together farmers, railroad and government.”