CN Rail strike could have dramatic effect on economy: transport minister

24 Novembre, 2019, 00:20 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • The Halifax quarry operated by the National Gypsum Company in 2016

"The strike can not last", Legault said in an unprompted statement to journalists in Quebec City. "But we can't rule out the need for a special bill in Ottawa".

Gouron says that agricultural conditions are not ideal for the production of new propane at this time of year, which is why keeping up the reserves are essential to maintaining the province's supply.

The premier expressed hope for a settlement between CN Rail and the union, but called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the opposition parties to pass back-to-work legislation if necessary ahead of Parliament's scheduled return on December 5.

While Alberta's concerns involve stalled oil shipments, Legault is anxious about Quebec's supply of propane, the vast majority of which is transported by rail from Sarnia, Ont. Daily usage has been cut to 2.5 million litres from a typical six million litres.

Hospitals and elderly residences will be prioritized in the rationing scheme, as will farmers, Legault said.

Legault said he's been in touch with Trudeau's office while other members of his government have reached out to federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

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In a statement, Quebec's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources said its distribution partners were working to put trucks on the road to the Sarnia supply point - which is serviced entirely by CN rail lines. With no pipelines to carry the fuel into Quebec, the province is particularly reliant on rail transportation from supply hubs in the Prairies and in Sarnia, Ont., said Nathalie St-Pierre, chief executive of the Canadian Propane Association. Effectively cutting off propane access is compounding the wet grain issue, she said.

Lineups lasting up to six hours had already been reported at that location, St-Pierre said. She added that 85 per cent of propane in Quebec is transported by rail.

"There are direct jobs that will be at stake in the very near future", Moe said. The Canadian Propane Association is "urgently calling" on the government to meet to make sure Canadians are not left without heating fuels, St-Pierre said.

"If you can't dry the crops you can't harvest them", he said.

Canadian Federation of Agriculture president Mary Robinson said the strike comes at a "devastating time for farmers" following a delayed grain crop and early snows.

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