Honourable Patricia A. Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Minister Hajdu,
Saskatchewan Pulse Growers is a farmer-led development board in Saskatchewan, working on behalf of the 15,000 growers of soybeans and pulse crops such as lentils, peas, and chickpeas. We make investments into research and market development, and advocate in support of growth of the sector.
Saskatchewan is Canada’s largest producer and exporter of pulse crops, accounting for half of Canada’s pea production and 90 per cent Canada’s lentil and chickpea production. In 2016 pulse exports from the province totaled $3.5 billion. Nearly 85 per cent of Canadian pulse production is exported. Therefore we are incredibly reliant on a well-functioning grain transportation system to ensure we remain competitive in the global market.
As you know Canadian Pacific (CP) has received notice from the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference – Train & Engine (TCRC) representing locomotive engineers and conductors, and from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) representing signals and communication employees that employee members of the respective unions will be withdrawing their services to operate freight and passenger trains and to maintain CP’s signaling systems in Canada, effective at 22:00 Tuesday, May 29, 2018.
A work stoppage of this level would significantly impede Canadian farmers’ ability to deliver their pulse crops to markets around the world, damaging Canada’s reputation as a reliable and consistent supplier. This potential disruption occurs at a time when market access issues in India are already having devastating effects on Canadian farmers’ ability to profitably market their pulse crops and as the system recovers from a winter in which railway rail service was very inadequate for a significant period of time. Saskatchewan Pulse Growers trusts that the Government will, at the onset of any disruption, take decisive action to restore full rail freight service and protect Canada’s exports and trading relationships.
Chair, Board of Directors
CC: The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, P.C., M.P.
Saskatchewan Members of Parliament