There is a lot of grain going nowhere in the province.
On Monday, the provincial government voted in favour of a motion to encourage the federal government to introduce an emergency law to fix the grain transportation crisis and backlog of product.
This is a good move. But even so, Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart told the Times-Herald that 55 ships are ready to load and it’ll still take many months for the backlog to clear, possibly until harvest and beyond.
So even if the federal government passed emergency law this week, it wouldn’t change the backlog. A solution is long overdue.
This is a serious problem for producers and for the economy. Saskatchewan set a record year for harvest and makes up for 23 per cent of all of Canada’s agricultural exports.
In an earlier Times-Herald article, local producers expressed their concerns. Greg Simpson, president of Simpson Seeds, said canola sales were down 19 per cent. Because crops haven’t been moved to market, he said it means “no grain, no cheque, no cash, no spending.”
The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association made four recommendations to address the transportation issues, including moving oil in pipelines and not on rail. Simpson added railroads could move grain if they wanted to provide car, crews, and engines.
We need a solution that will work. Stewart said the problem has been ongoing for decades. That calls for an examination of why it’s happening and a solution to prevent this from happening again.
Hopefully the federal government will adhere to the province’s encouragement.
This crisis needs to be resolved as soon as possible. It is not good for the companies and exporters in Saskatchewan and it is not good for Canada.
All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.