SARM President David Marit and Vice President Jim Hallick will appear before the Standing Committee on Agriculture in Ottawa today. They will ask for a more defined process in the de-listing of producer car grain loading sites whereby a producer or a rural municipality may have the opportunity to register objections with a reasonable expectation of redress. ‘De-listing’ means that CN will no longer deliver grain cars to that site for producer loading.
Recently, CN announced its plans to de-list 52 loading sites in western Canada. Of those 52 sites, 24 are located in Saskatchewan. President Marit will be asking that the de-listing process for those 52 sites be stopped. In addition, he will also be calling for an immediate moratorium on all future de-listings until such time as changes can be made to the Canadian Transportation Act (CTA) which would allow for greater transparency and a more defined process.
“We are asking for CN to notify area rural municipalities that a loading site will be de-listed” President Marit said. “We want to have access to the criteria which CN used to de-list the sites and we also want them to publish their notification to de-list in the provinces major newspapers as well as weekly newspapers. By doing this, producers and rural municipalities will actually have the opportunity to object to the de-listing because they will be aware of it.”
Under the Canadian Transportation Act, CN is only required to publish its intention to close a site in local newspapers over a 60 day period. But given the limited readership of these papers, very few people were aware of the proposed de-listings and as such, objections were registered only after the public comment period was closed and the matter became public. “CN may be respecting the letter of the legislation but they are not respecting the spirit of that legislation which is to encourage and allow for public feedback” said President Marit.
The total number of car producer shipments in Saskatchewan jumped from 1,572 in 1999, to 8,971 in 2007 the latest full year for which records are kept. “These loading sites are vital to Saskatchewan agriculture and they simply cannot be de-listed without a sincere and honest effort at engaging those producers who are affected” President Marit said.
For More Information Contact:
“SARM, the Voice of Rural Saskatchewan”