Thursday, November 6, 2014

Prairie premiers seek $1 billion to upgrade grain transport

The three Prairie premiers are asking the federal government to invest $1 billion to upgrade ports and other transportation infrastructure to get more grain to overseas markets.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said the current transportation system is "nearing its limit" and the delays this year were a wake-up call.

"Japan, a long-standing customer for Canadian wheat, just said, 'We have to take a pause here. We need these shipments to be reliable,'" Wall is quoted by Canadian Press.

The three leaders met for two days as part of their New West Partnership and focused on the future of regional transportation in light of railway backlogs that plagued the Prairies earlier this year.

Western Canadian farmers harvested a record crop of grain last year, but couldn't easily get it to market because of a railway transportation bottleneck.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne should get on the ball and ask for at least $1 billion just to get agriculture products through Toronto.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said all kinds of stakeholders came together to have a "frank discussion" on Wednesday and Thursday in Regina.