Wall & Ritz on Rail Logistics & the Ghost of the CWB’s Monopoly

Quick negotiations and a tentative agreement earlier this week between CN Rail and the union representing some of its employees was good news earlier for Canada’s supply chain, as it meant avoiding a threatened strike.

Upon hearing of the potential for 3,000 workers to strike, Saskatchewan’s Premier Brad Wall wrote Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt, asking that legislation be immediately introduced to prevent such a strike from happening.

“In a democracy there is the right to strike, there is the right to collective bargaining,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz in response. “Snuffing out something before they have the ability to implement their democratic rights would not be good.”

There’s no doubt the logistics woes are weighing heavily on the minds of politicians. Wall emphasized the need for product movement and collaboration when he addressed media at the 2014 Agriculture Trade Summit in Saskatoon, and recognized locomotive numbers and labour as potential concerns. As for the loss of the Canadian Wheat Board?

Read More: Federal Government rolls out new railroad reporting measures on service

“I think the single-desk argument is an oversimplification and doesn’t hold water when you consider that other areas of agriculture very close to us—across the border—that have never had a single-desk do not seem to be having the scale of challenges we seem to have with respect to moving that crop.”

The next meeting for stakeholders in the supply chain will be February 24, 2014.

To hear more from Premier Brad Wall and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, see their response to media at the Agriculture Trade Summit below:

 

Debra Murphy

Debra Murphy is a Field Editor based out of central Alberta, where she never misses a moment to capture with her camera the real beauty of agriculture. Follow her on Twitter @RealAg_Debra

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