Source: Alberta Wheat Commission
The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Barley say that Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s move to endorse key amendments to Bill C-49 in the House of Commons, as recommended by the Commissions, is good news for farmers.
Now with spring seeding just days away, the Commissions urge the House of Commons to pass Bill C-49 with amendments as swiftly as possible. Once passed, the Commissions urge quick passage of the amended legislation in the Senate to pave the way for royal assent so that Canada’s freight rail system has permanent solutions in place in advance of the new crop year.
Key amendments include improved access to longhaul interswitching, a measure that will increase shippers’ competitive access to a second rail carrier. The legislation also includes reciprocal penalties, which both commissions pressed hard to see for several years.
“We see the news from Minister Garneau as an excellent show of support for the agriculture industry and for farmers,” said Kevin Bender, AWC Chair. “The amendments to longhaul interswitching are an extremely important competitive mechanism and we firmly believe they should be included in the legislation.”
Minister Garneau’s Friday announcement that he tabled a motion in the House of Commons to make several amendments also signals the likeliness that Bill C-49 could be debated as early as next week. The movement on Bill C-49 is especially welcomed news since many areas in Western Canada continue to experience significant delays in grain movement due to poor rail service. The Commissions also thank Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay for his commitment support of to the legislation.
“Along with support from Minister MacAulay, Minister Garneau’s commitment dedication to the amendments we pressed for is promising news,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “With grain still backlogged across several regions in Western Canada, we strongly encourage the House to pass the amended legislation as quickly as possible so we can avoid similar circumstances this harvest. Bill C-49 as amended offers the mechanisms we need to see that happen.”
Once passed, historic Bill C-49 will in-fact pave the way for a more competitive, reliable and accountable rail transportation system in Canada.