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Agri-food sector asking for PM to find “immediate” solution to rail service disruption

The agri-food sector is calling for a fast solution for the disruption of rail service.

Here is a copy of the letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

*********************

February 15, 2020
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister:

Once again, a crisis is emerging in rural Ontario as a result of interrupted rail service. We, the undersigned,
represent farmers and agri-businesses that live and work in rural communities across Ontario and we are writing to
you to ask that you find a solution immediately to the disruption of rail service.

We recognize and acknowledge that Indigenous Canadians have fundamental issues that must be addressed in
order to achieve full reconciliation. However, it will be through thoughtful, honest and sincere dialogue that such an
outcome will be attained. Protests that have the potential to paralyze the Canadian economy are not helpful to that
process.

The agri-food sector is the most significant driver of the Ontario economy – generating $48 billion in GDP and
employing over 837,000 Ontarians. In addition, hospitals, homes, farm families, farm animals, farm businesses
and the food processing sector throughout rural Ontario are all at risk.

The rail stoppage is affecting everyone who relies on rail to provide essential goods and services to their
community. Eastern Canada is facing propane shortages needed to meet heating requirements. Container
movement of soybeans has ground to a halt. Ethanol plants have stopped accepting corn deliveries as there is no
mechanism to move the ethanol out by rail. 70% of Canada’s pork production is exported with the vast majority of
that moving by rail to export position and this interruption is an immediate and severe economic impact. It will take
weeks to recover from the days of disruptions that have already taken place. Medicine, heat for hospitals and
homes, food and other supplies need to reach communities that rely on rail for the transportation of these
essentials.

We need your help, now, we are asking you to find an immediate solution to the current disruption in rail service
and work with us to develop solutions that will stop continual disruption to rail service in Canada.

Sincerely,
Joe Hill, President, Beef Farmers of Ontario
Ed Benjamins, Chair, Chicken Farmers of Ontario
Clarence Nywening, President, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario
Scott Graham, Chair, Egg Farmers of Ontario
Norman Beal, Chief Executive Officer, Food and Beverage Ontario
Markus Haerle, Chair, Grain Farmers of Ontario
Ryan Koeslag, Executive Vice-President/CEO, Mushrooms Canada
Richard Smibert, President, Ontario Agri Business Association
Mike Donnelly-Vanderloo, Chair, Ontario Bean Growers
Bill Bears, Chair, Ontario Broiler, Hatching Egg & Chick Commission Page 2…
Keith Currie, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
Eric Schwindt, Chair, Ontario Pork
Brian Ricker, Chair, Turkey Farmers of Ontario

cc:
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport; [email protected]
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business Export Promotion and International Trade; [email protected]
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food; [email protected]
The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Rural Economic Development; [email protected]
The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario; [email protected]
The Honourable Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture & Food; [email protected]
Mary Robinson, President, Canadian Federation of Agriculture; [email protected]farmers.ca
Marcel Groleau, President Union des producteurs agricoles; [email protected]

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Louise Sproule

Louise Sproule has been the publisher of The Review since 1992. A part-time job after high school at The Review got Sproule hooked on community newspapers and all that they represent. She loves to write, has covered every kind of event you can think of, loves to organize community events and loves her small town and taking photographs across the region. She dreams of writing a book one day so she can finally tell all of the town's secrets! She must be stopped! Keep subscribing to The Review . . . or else!

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