Quebec farmers dump corn in front of Trudeau’s office to demand interventionChristian Fernsby ▼ | November 26, 2019
Dozens of farmers from the Canadian province of Quebec drove their tractors to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Montreal office and dumped corn to protest the government’s inaction on a week-long railway strike.
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“We are on the alert it’s an intolerable situation,” said Marcel Groleau, president of the Quebec Agricultural Producers Union (UPA).
About 3,200 Canadian National rail employees have been on strike since last Tuesday, demanding a reduction in long working hours that the Teamsters Rail Canada Conference union said creates dangerous working conditions.
Many farmers side with the union’s position. But at the same time, they are worried that they will not be able to get their produce to markets. The strike also comes at a time when the harvest was below par and amid trade disputes such as China’s ban on Canadian canola.
The rail strike has also led to a shortage of propane, which is used to warm hog barns and henhouses and to dry grain before it goes to market.
“They need either to resolve the strike, resolve the problem, resolve the negotiation or take a risk with us, because if we lose our crop, we lose our income,” said Dominique Leroux, a Quebec grain farmer.
National Farmers Union president Katie Ward said federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau needs to direct the two sides to reach a “swift agreement” and end the strike. ■