Withdraw Conservative bill that threatens Canadian grain producers and valuable exports



    OTTAWA, Feb. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - The federal government should withdraw
amendments to the Grain Act in Bill C-39 because it will hurt grain producers
and it ignores the unanimous advice from an all-party Commons committee,
according to the Agriculture Union - PSAC.
    The Conservative government's proposed legislation will gut the Canadian
Grain Commission (CGC), the independent body that provides essential services
to grain producers. Bill C-39 will be debated for the first time in Parliament
today.
    The legislation ignores the recommendation of an all-party committee by
immediately and aggressively cutting the CGC's regulatory responsibilities and
services. After extensive study, the House of Commons Standing Committee on
Agriculture recommended that the Commission receive increased funding to
ensure that the essential services it offers to grain producers can be
sustained.
    "Instead of heeding the advice of politicians from all parties, the
Conservative government is putting the future of farmers and of all Canadians
who benefit from the grain trade at risk. This bill should be withdrawn and
fixed before it is debated in Parliament," said Bob Kingston, Executive Vice
President of Agricultural Union - PSAC.
    Bill C-39 will eliminate mandatory weighing and inspection by the Grain
Commission which ensures that grains of different quality can be segregated,
to protect higher grades from being diluted by lower quality grain. Farmers of
high quality product stand to lose the premium paid by international buyers
and Canada's reputation as a producer of highest quality grain will be
threatened.
    Once this "quality incentive" to ship Canadian grain separate from
American grain is lost, Canadian grain will be shipped overland, mixed with
the lower quality American product and shipped through US ports threatening
the Canadian transportation network, ports and other sectors that thrive on
grain exports.
    C-39 also ends the Commission's key role in determining payments to
farmers and protecting them from financial harm in the event of grain buyer
bankruptcy or refusal to pay.
    "This government appears to be willing to put one of our country's most
important export sectors at risk" said Patty Ducharme, Executive
Vice-President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. "While we are
concerned about the impact on our members who provide important services at
the Canadian Grain Commission - more than 200 stand to lose their jobs, the
long term damage C-39 will do to grain producers and Canada's international
reputation is a far greater threat to the future of our members and all
Canadians."

    The Agriculture Union is over 9,000 members from coast-to-coast-to coast
who share one common goal: to serve and protect the public interest. The Union
represents most of the people who work at the Canadian Grain Commission. Our
members are front-line defenders of public health, supporters of sustainable
agriculture and guardians of a secure food chain.




For further information:

For further information: Bob Kingston, Executive Vice President,
Agriculture Union - PSAC, (613) 560-4306 office, (613) 882-2607 cell


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