George Hickie
Waldron, Sask.

It’s pretty sad to think that, with all the MPs he has in Western Canada, Stephen Harper can’t come up with somebody – anybody – who understands farming better than Gerry Ritz.

In the May 12 edition of the Manitoba Co-operator, our soon-to-be re-confirmed Minister of Agriculture is quoted as saying that producers “might need to pay more for grain transportation in order to get better railway service.”

He also says that personally, he doesn’t “mind paying a little extra for service as long as in the end, it plays into my business plan.” When was the last time Ritz actually shipped a bushel of wheat? If he’d done so lately, he’d know that the railways are already charging far too much for the service they give us out of the 300 or so grain elevators that are left after decades of rail line abandonment and consolidation. He’s all hot and bothered about the Wheat Board`s monopoly but he doesn’t seem to care when the shoe is on the other foot and the railways use their strangle-hold on the transportation system to rip us off to the tune of $6 on every tonne of grain we ship.

Instead of spending his time preaching the gospel according to CN and CP, Ritz needs to grow a pair and get to work on a new revenue cap and joint running rights. Until then, he’s just another railroad hack.

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