(28 November 2017)
From Hansard - 28 November 2017
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Closure of Railway Loading Facilities
Ms. Beck: — I hope that helped the Premier feel better, Mr. Speaker, but still no answers or accountability by that minister.
Mr. Speaker, agriculture is one of the foundations, not only of our economy, but it is a big part of what defines us as a province. As an export economy, Saskatchewan producers need reliable transportation to get product to market. But CP [Canadian Pacific Railway] has announced that they will be shutting down at least 10 producer car-loading sites in our province.
According to the agricultural groups such as APAS [Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan] and the wheat and barley commissions, and according to common sense, these closures will hurt the agriculture industry, and neither industry nor municipalities nor affected producers have been consulted. Sound familiar, Mr. Speaker? Last spring the Sask Party sold off our profitable Crown grain cars without asking the owners — all the people of Saskatchewan.
Mr. Speaker, in 2005 there were 79 loading sites on CP Rail [Canadian Pacific Railway] lines in Saskatchewan, and if these cuts go through, there will be no more than 26. To the minister: what has been done to ask the federal government for a moratorium on these and future site closures until a proper, full costing review is complete?
Hon. Mr. Stewart: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the member for her question. It’s a good question. I think it’s a legitimate question.
The Minister of Highways and myself met with CP Rail when they announced that they were going to close these loading facilities or potential track-loading facilities, and we very strongly opposed that action. Following that, we wrote a joint letter to the Canadian minister of transportation, which was followed some time later by a response which we consider to be a non-response. And just this morning we discussed sending a second letter to the federal Minister of Transport to demand a better answer than what we got in his previous one.
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