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Delta South MLA Ian Paton demands action from NDP for farmers suffering from rail blockades

VICTORIA (February 25, 2020) – Delta South MLA and Opposition Critic for Agriculture Ian Paton is calling on John Horgan and the NDP to provide certainty for farmers across the Lower Mainland who are bearing the brunt of the economic damage caused by ongoing rail blockades.

“Rail blockades are preventing farmers from getting the necessary feed and supplies to their farms. Exports are being held up as blockades at the ports are preventing them from getting to market,” said Paton. “Every day that John Horgan and the NDP sit idle, we run the very real risk of inflicting long-term damage to our agriculture industry that could last for years to come.”

Lower Mainland feed mills manufacture and deliver more than 3,000 tonnes of feed daily to over 1,000 local area farms, the vast majority of which is delivered to the Fraser Valley by rail. Feed from the Prairies that many B.C. farmers rely on is being held up as the railways are all but shut down. The blockades at the Port of Vancouver are forcing ships across the Southern B.C. coast to sit idle. For each day these ships remain in port, it will take an additional three days to return them to normal capacity.

“We are reaching a tipping point — farmers are being forced to ration feed and propane while their fruits, vegetables, and other goods slowly rot away as they sit idle in railcars,” concluded Paton. “John Horgan and the NDP need to produce a viable contingency plan to ensure that farmers will no longer be held hostage over politics beyond their control.”

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