Frustrated farmers from the Montérégie region formed a convoy of more than a dozen tractors and drove into downtown Montreal on Friday afternoon, calling for authorities to find a way to resume propane shipments that have been cut off since Tuesday by the Canadian National Railway strike.
Starting with a protest outside the offices of Brenda Shanahan, Liberal MP for Châteauguay—Lacolle, the farmers took two hours to drive over the Jacques Cartier Bridge and to CN Rail headquarters on de la Gauchetière St.
Farmers said they need propane at this time of year to reduce humidity levels in grain storage units to stop their crops from rotting.
They called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier François Legault to act quickly, because farmers risk losing hundreds of thousands of dollars if the conflict isn’t resolved soon, they said.
John Mahoney /
The Grain Producers of Quebec — representing 10,500 producers of wheat, corn, oats and barley — say they’ve already been hard hit by this year’s early winter. They plan to participate in a demonstration Monday to demand immediate action from the federal government. The location of the demonstration has not been announced.
Quebec’s Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) says the situation has already become critical for many producers because about 15 per cent of the energy used by the province’s agricultural sector is provided by propane. The fuel is used most in grain, pork and poultry production, as well as the incubation of eggs.
John Mahoney /
UPA president Marcel Groleau says the situation is complicated further by the fact this year’s grain harvest is the wettest in decades, and propane fuels the drying process.
More than 80 per cent of the propane used in Quebec is transported into the province by rail, most of it arriving from Sarnia, Ont.
The UPA plans to stage a large demonstration in Montreal on Monday if there is no settlement in the dispute over the weekend.