Ag associations applaud the progress on a bill which helps to address transportation problems
By Kate Ayers
The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and Grain Growers of Canada are celebrating the Senate’s passage of the Transportation Modernization Act (Bill C-49).
“This bill has taken far too long to pass, but I am pleased that the Senate has adopted our amendments and completed this process,” Daryl Fransoo, Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association director, said in a Wheat Growers’ release today.
Canadian grain farmers successfully lobbied for improvements to the bill. The amendments included adding soybeans to the maximum revenue entitlement, improving shipper accessibility to long-haul interswitching, and own motion power for the Canadian Transportation agency, Grain Growers of Canada said in a release on Thursday.
“The biggest one is the own motion power. … Instead of (shipping) companies having to file agreements against the railroads, the Canadian Transportation Agency can do the investigation itself,” Fransoo said to Farms.com today.
“The main reason is that grain companies fear that, if they file an agreement, (the railways) will have retribution against them.”
The amendments are an effort to fix the current power imbalance between grain shippers and railway companies.
The bill “gets us one step closer to having a law in place that gives shippers some clout,” Fransoo said.
When Bill C-49 becomes law, it will make railways more accountable, ensuring Canadian farmers remain competitive within the international marketplace, the Wheat Growers said in its release.
Although the bill has been passed, it still needs to be adopted by the House of Commons after officials return from spring break.
“I would ask that the House of Commons quickly accept the Senate amendments and make C-49 a priority in order to ensure that our grain will be efficiently moved to market in the future,” Levi Wood, Wheat Growers president, said in the release.