Action steers grain back on track in Western Canada

As the Minister of State (Finance) and member of Parliament for Crowfoot, I’m pleased

As the Minister of State (Finance) and member of Parliament for Crowfoot, I’m pleased that Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz have announced concrete measures to move more grain through the transportation system.

Last week’s announcement is good news for producers in our riding who have experienced delays in the movement of their grain.

Minister Raitt announced an Order in Council (OIC) to take immediate effect, setting out minimum volumes of grain that Canadian National Railway Company and Canadian Pacific Railway Company are each required to move.

The order, under section 47(1) of the Canada Transportation Act, also requires the railways to report to the Minister of Transport on weekly shipments.

The railways will be required to increase the volumes carried each week, over a period of four weeks, to a combined target of 1,000,000 metric tonnes per week — more than doubling the volume currently being moved. This order creates direct legal obligations on railways and will result in penalties for noncompliance of up to $100,000 per day.

Agriculture Minister Ritz announced that the government will introduce legislation when Parliament returns to establish measures to ensure Canada maintains a world-class logistics system that gets agricultural products to market more efficiently.

The government continues to call on all parties in the grain-supply chain to play constructive roles to ensure the timely movement of grain, and to continue working together on medium and long-term solutions.

In our region of the Prairies, we are all looking forward to this promised legislation, and as the MP for Crowfoot, I am looking forward to the debate in the House of Commons.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or previous columns, you can write to me at 4945 — 50 Street, Camrose, AB, T4V 1P9, phone 780-608-4600, toll-free at 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or email Kevin.Sorenson.C1@parl.gc.ca.

Kevin Sorenson is the Minister of State (Finance) and the member of Parliament for Crowfoot.

— From the Hill