Federal election candidates in Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies fielded questions from voters during an all candidate's forum in Fort St. John on Thursday, Oct. 10. Here's what they had to say in response to a question about clearing the backlog of grain shipments out of the region. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Question: "Moving grain via rail from Fort St. John has been a problem for many years. Come January, rail is used for shipping sand and oil while agricultural products are put on the backburner creating major difficulties for farmers trying to sell their product. What will your party do to ensure that the transportation of agricultural products continue to move consistently from the Peace to the markets via rail?" — North Pine Farmer’s Institute
Mavis Erickson, Liberals: “In terms of food security, we have to start promoting more of our agriculture, not only locally but also nationally. In terms of a plan, this government would sit down with farmers and the people in the agricultural field and have a series of roundtables to talk about a plan on just how to do that, and have some regional meetings set up in the north.”
Catharine Kendall, Greens: “The Green Party platform includes managing urban and cross-country railway systems to be much more efficient for the transport of people and goods, including agricultural products. The Green Party platform also includes investing heavily in local agriculture. In Prince George, for instance, we recognize if something happened on the road, if there was a fire down in Quesnel and our highways were closed, we have three days worth of food in the grocery stores. I’ve talked to people up here in Pink Mountain, Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, and it’s a similar situation.”
Ron Vaillant, People's Party: “We have nothing in our party platform regarding this issue, but we want to be able to make government smaller, not bigger. This is a private issue, you’re talking about private rail cars and businesses, so I don’t see the federal government having anything to do with it.”Click here to see more...