Saskatchewan Premier Romanow backs producer report on grain transportation

REGINA (Sept. 24, 1999) — Premier Roy Romanow gave his support to a report made public yesterday calling for the immediate transfer of $100 million to Saskatchewan producers through railway productivity savings.

The report was developed by the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, Manitoba’s Keystone Agriculture Producers, and Alberta’s Wild Rose Agriculture Producers. Romanow urged the federal government to take heed of the concerns and ideas expressed in the report’s recommendations.

“The most important message here is that there is a simple way to put the $100 million back into the hands of Saskatchewan farmers instead of the bank accounts of the railways,” Romanow said. “A simple change would give more than $3000 to every farmer in Saskatchewan.”

The report was issued in response to the process being facilitated by Arthur Kroeger, who was appointed by the federal government to consider how the Estey report on grain handling and transportation might be implemented. This process is the latest in ongoing efforts to improve Canada’s grain handling and transportation system.

“From the beginning we’ve worked with producers and farm organizations towards a common goal,” Romanow said. “We need an efficient grain handling and transportation system that benefits producers by reducing their input costs and putting dollars from productivity gains back into their pockets.

“Our producers are faced with disastrously low commodity prices, U.S. and European subsidies, and high input costs. It is time for the federal government to do the right thing. We are committed to standing up with western Canadian producers to pressure the federal government every step of the way. And they can start by making sure that any changes to the grain handling and transportation system benefit our farmers. The first step would be by reducing freight rates by $5 per tonne per farmer.”

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